On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Morning Joe began with host Joe Scarborough repeatedly mocking President Biden’s outrageous rhetoric in a Tuesday speech claiming anyone opposed to the Democratic Party’s scheme to have a federal takeover of elections was akin to George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis.
“I don’t understand, if you’re President of the United States, you’re trying to get people on your side, why you compare them to Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis?,”Scarborough asked the question with a good laugh, as Biden’s morning show began. The comedian repeated the joke just moments later. “I don’t understand what was going on yesterday. He’s talking about Jefferson Davis and he’s talking about Bull Connor and all this other stuff. The President of the United States, if he’s trying to get Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema on his side…”
Scarborough turned to Willie Geist as co-host and sarcastically asked: “If you’re trying to pull people over to your side, is it better or worse to compare them to Jefferson Davis and Bull Connor?”Geist replied in a deadpan manner: “It’s worse, certainly.”Scarborough was more jovial about it.
A soundbite ran of Biden’s Tuesday diatribe in Atlanta:
We will choose democracy or autocracy; light over darkness, justice over injustice. It is clear where I stand. I won’t give up. I will not give in. I will fight for democracy and the right to vote against all foreign and domestic enemies. Would you like to stand on the side of George Wallace or Dr. King? Would you like to stand on the side Bull Connor and John Lewis? Would you like to support Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln?
Scarborough took a mock quiz in response to the President’s absurd rant: “Can we check our answers really quickly? I had King, Lewis, and Lincoln.” Geist quipped: “Three for three.” Scarborough remarked: “Did you have those three, too? Okay.”
Scarborough took a serious turn for a second and called out the actions of Biden: “…he was virtue signaling to activists who think it took him too long to get there. I think he may have overshot the mark.”
Democratic Party activist and weekend MSNBC host Al Sharpton tried to excuse Biden’s unhinged rambling by comparing opponents of the radical agenda to sinful drunks: “…if he was trying to get votes, it was not the vote-getting speech….when you’re a preacher….you get up and you try to persuade people of their sins….But when they come to church and they still have the jug of whiskey up under the pew, you say, ‘You’re going to Hell.’ I think he gave a, ‘You’re going to Hell’ speech yesterday.”
In keeping with the analogy of the church, Scarborough moved back:
If you get into church and you’re delivering that hellfire and brimstone sermon, and you turn around and half of your choir is empty. You’re supposed to be preaching to the choir in the church bringing them back together, I understand that. Half of his choir remained empty …. where was everyone?If we believe American democracy is in danger, and believe this to be the fight that will end all other fights, why wasn’t everybody there?
Sharpton questioned: “Everybody like who?” Scarborough pointed out those absent: “Oh, Stacey Abrams. What was the point of half the choir being gone? Why were civil rights groups saying, ‘Oh, this is too late. This is too late, we’re not going to show up’?”
Scarborough mocked his wife Mika Brzezinski, co-host of the show. She rushed to Biden’s defense with this tirade:
I don’t think you should blame Joe Biden for that comparison. Did Joe Biden make that analogy or were the Republican Party’s forces behind it, which still bow to the racist ex-president who won the election, but attempted to take the vote?We have, like, underestimated the danger to democracy for too long. It is the reality that President Biden has tried to make it clearer over the last week. This is simply the reality. These are the most important terms. We’re not sort of on the edge of something, we’re in the middle of a fight for the soul of our democracy. And I don’t want to sound like a whiny left cable host, and you know, become exaggeratingly passionate –
Scarborough reacted to the notion of Brzezinski being a “whiny left cable host” by sarcastically assuring her: “Never. That would be impossible. Does anybody think Mika would ever do that?…No, we don’t think you do that.”
When Biden’s even lost his base of support at MSNBC, it’s clear his speech was a dud.
Below is an excerpt from the January 12th show’s opening.
6.02 AM ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: First, I’ve just gotta say, I’m very confused. Reverend Al was there yesterday so we can get your help. I’m very confused on several fronts.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI – Oh my God.
SCARBOROUGH: Life in general. Because what’s the point of being a dumb country attorney? The news was on my mind as I fell from the turnip truck. While I was outside Woolworth yesterday, I looked at 6th Avenue TV sets.
SCARBOROUGH: And I just don’t understand a couple things. First of all, Willie, I’ll start with you, I don’t understand, if you’re President of the United States, you’re trying to get people on your side, why you compare them to Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis? Now, I’m new to the game here. I’m new to the game, but that’s part one.
6.03 am ET
SCARBOROUGH: Willie, I don’t understand what was going on yesterday. He’s talking about Jefferson Davis and he’s talking about Bull Connor and all this other stuff. The President of the United States, if he’s trying to get Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema on his side, I can think of somebody else.
SCARBOROUGH: So this is what I don’t understand. If you’re trying to pull people over to your side, is it better or worse to compare them to Jefferson Davis and Bull Connor?
WILLIE GEIST: It’s worse, certainly. [Laughter]Now the question is: What was yesterday’s objective? The President of the United States went to Atlanta, Georgia. Was he trying to get people on his side – speaking of Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, others – or was he trying to send a signal to progressives that, “Yes, I’m fighting on the issue,” even though it looks like it’s a dead end given what Joe Manchin said immediately afterward. He said, “I’m not for changing the rules. I don’t know how many times you want me to say it.” Here is what President Biden said yesterday in Atlanta that Joe’s referring to.
JOE BIDEN – Will democracy prevail over autocracy? Light over shadows? Justice over injustice? It is clear where I stand. I won’t give up. I will not give in. I will fight for democracy and the right to vote against all foreign and domestic enemies. Are you ready to stand on the side of George Wallace or Dr. King? Would you like to stand on the side Bull Connor and John Lewis? Would you like to support Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln?
SCARBOROUGH – Can we quickly check our answers? King, Lewis, Lincoln all came to mind.
GEIST: Three for one
SCARBOROUGH – Did those three come to you, too? Okay. The question is, Willie? Why did he do this? But what was the point of his actions? He was – and I say this with love in my heart – he was virtue signaling to activists who think it took him too long to get there. It seems he might have missed the mark.
REV. What did you read as the President’s objective yesterday? If it’s pretty clear, again, Joe Manchin has said it for months and months and months, “I’m not for changing the rules. I’m not for blowing up the filibuster. I may be for some other voting rights legislation, but let’s get Republicans on board.” You can argue that maybe that’s a fool’s errand in itself, but what was the president doing yesterday? Was he speaking to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, and maybe Chris Coons and Jon Tester and some other people, in saying you’re either Bull Connor or you’re Martin Luther King?
AL SHARPTON: I think, first of all, I thought he was really dealing with many of us, me included, that’s been on him, that he ought to be saying something and he didn’t say something for a long time.
I think that secondly, he was leaving – he literally had left the grave of Martin Luther King and came over and made the speech.
SHARPTON: And I think that he was dealing with the emotions of being with Dr. King’s sister, the family. He died for these ideals. And the frustration that he can’t get people over there. Right after his speech, I chatted with him. I also spoke to Vice President Harris. It was not a speech that I had hoped to hear six years ago. However, I found it to be a very good speech.
This is Joe’s case. It was his attempt to gain votes.
SHARPTON: It was the – when you’re a preacher, I’m a minister.
SCARBOROUGH – Amen you are.
SHARPTON. Either you stand up, or you appeal to the better angels to get people to repent of their sins. But when they come to church and they still have the jug of whiskey up under the pew, you say, “You’re going to Hell.” I think he gave a, “You’re going to Hell” speech yesterday.
6.09 AM ET
SHARPTON: And I think what he’s really saying to them is that you can, on Martin Luther king week, go against a sitting Democratic president and vote against this? I think he’s pressing them to the wall, something all of us wanted to do. Now I may be sitting here Monday morning saying it didn’t work, but I think that he certainly preached to the choir yesterday and the choir said, “Amen.”
SCARBOROUGH: I was just going to say, that’s the problem. If you get into church and you’re delivering that hellfire and brimstone sermon, and you turn around and half of your choir is empty. You’re supposed to be preaching to the choir in the church bringing them back together, I understand that. Half of his choir was not there.
This leads us to our second question: Where was everyone? Like this is – if we are to believe that American democracy is at risk, and if we are to believe this is the fight to end all fights, why wasn’t everybody there?
SHARPTON – Who is like you?
SCARBOROUGH, Oh Stacey Abrams. What was the point of half of the choir being gone? Why were civil rights groups saying, “Oh, this is too late. This is too late, we’re not going to show up”?
SHARPTON: Well, I think, also, that you’ve got to look at the fact that civil rights leaders, like Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King III, people that made the day happen, were there. Some activists who didn’t attend said they thought it was a great speech. And I think that you cannot overlook the historic fact that you have the President of the United States, who said that, “I am one that believes in keeping the traditions of the Senate. I am one that believes in upholding this.” Saying that this rises above that, we must stay voting. It was an amazing day and a wonderful speech. I told him that, and I’ve been critical of the President.
BRZEZINSKI: I’m with Rev.
SCARBOROUGH: Amen. Do you want to share your reasons, Sister Mika
BRZEZINSKI: Yes, because I don’t think you should blame Joe Biden for that comparison. Do you think Joe Biden made that connection? Or did it come from the Republican Party’s forces, which still bow to the racist ex-president, but attempted to seize power. We have been underestimating the danger to democracy for too long. This is what President Biden has tried to do in the last week. These stark words are necessary because it’s the truth. We’re not sort of on the edge of something, we’re in the middle of a fight for the soul of our democracy. And I don’t want to sound like a whiny left cable host, and you know, become exaggeratingly passionate –
SCARBOROUGH: Never. That would be impossible. Do you think Mika will ever do this?
HEILEMANN: I do not.
SCARBOROUGH: No, we don’t think you do that.
BRZEZINSKI: No, actually, but I do think that sometimes it can be – it can be overestimated or passionately spoken to the point where you’re like, enough, enough. But the bottom line is, if you look at voting rights and you look at January 6th, there are realities that Republicans are avoiding or walking away from, are turning their backs to, and they shouldn’t.