With Morning Joe namesake Joe Scarborough returning to the show after an early summer vacation on Monday, he got right back into the swing of things by attacking Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis by suggesting he has an “authoritarian streak” because he vetoed spending taxpayer money to help build a new baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. In contrast, Scarborough proclaimed himself the real “conservative.”
After conducting the daily routine of bashing the GOP as a whole, Scarborough and guests targeted DeSantis. During this insightful conversation, Scarborough labeled himself as a “small government conservative,” criticizing him for “telling businesses what they should or shouldn't do” when it came to nixing certain COVID mandates.
It is certain that viewers were scratching their heads at this claim considering that Scarborough was all for what New York’s former, disgraced governor, Andrew Cuomo (D) did during the COVID pandemic; which was tell businesses and schools what they could and could not do.
When Scarborough asked MSNBC senior national political reporter Marc Caputo his thoughts on the motive for vetoing these bills, Caputo admitted that because DeSantis is conservative, he is trying to save the Florida government money. “Conservatives traditionally don’t like a lot of government spending,” Caputo said.
This is contradictory to what both Scarborough and Caputo said earlier, which was that DeSantis was only cutting budgetary spending for companies that said things that he did not agree with. So, what is the real reasons for the budget cuts, Joe and Marc?
Scarborough then turned the conversation over to his second guest, Florida State Attorney for Palm Beach County, Dave Aronberg. However, before Aronberg could say his piece, Joe did the one thing he is good at: more anti-GOP ranting.
“He’s punishing a private company, a private enterprise because of their political views with taxpayer money,” Scarborough raged. “Same thing again, I talked about it before with Disney. Talked about with cruise lines that wanted, at the height of COVID, to keep their people safe, to have them wear masks, which any doctor – sane doctor would have said, this makes sense.”
Adding: “I mean, it is just craziness. This is not conservative. This is authoritarian. It’s plain and simple. Conservatives know that.”
Aronberg butted in saying that he would not label DeSantis as authoritarian, but as “authoritarian-curious”, resembling the “socialist dictators he loves to hate.”
He then referenced how DeSantis punished Disney for opposing his ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, even though the bill’s purpose is to keep educators from indoctrinating LGBTQ ideologies into school children’s daily lessons. Does MSNBC actually think that DeSantis outlawed the word ‘gay’ in the state of Florida?
The buck didn’t stop there though. Aronberg then accused the Florida Governor of bullying the Special Olympics into dropping their vaccine mandate, calling this action “a new low.” “And if you're keeping score at home, he's attacked the Special Olympics, baseball, Mickey Mouse, and even the First Amendment itself,” ranted the attorney.
However, people would think that a Florida attorney would study the laws of Florida (the state he practices in) because vaccine mandates in the state were prohibited by the law. DeSantis was not calling out the organization, this was a requirement for any event.
So, it appears that DeSantis is simply fulfilling his duties as Governor of Florida. But because Scarborough doesn’t agree with DeSantis’ political views, he is automatically a bad governor.
Click “expand” to see the full transcript:
MSNBC’s Morning Joe
6:46:22 a.m. Eastern
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So Mark Caputo, this is me saying this, not you. You're obviously a reporter. I am a guy who is a small government conservative. I have been. I still am. And I don't like government on any level stepping in, telling businesses what they should or shouldn't do.
We saw in COVID he was telling small businesses what they could or couldn't do, school boards what they could or couldn't do, telling Walt Disney what they can or can't even say inside their own company. And now, a tweet, a tweet. It costs a baseball team – a beloved baseball team a heck of a lot of money because he's vetoing bills because of tweets. It seems to have become more, my words, not yours, extreme by the day. What's going on here?
MARC CAPUTO: Well, I think in this specific case, he's kind of logrolling these two things. Number one, he wanted to veto a lot of spending because he is a conservative. However, this is a massive budget. There is a lot of government spending here and conservatives traditionally don't like a lot of government spending. This is a $109 billion budget and he vetoed $3.1 billion. He was looking for things to cut.
And this is an easy one because a lot of people don't like the idea of subsidizing sports teams. And then it was one of these things like, ‘oh, hey, you know, and they did this.’ So for him, it was kind of a win-win.
You are going to see more of this, though, to your point. Saw it with Disney. And you're going to see it with other companies that step out of line, in his view.
With that haven been said, though he did say, ‘hey, I'm against sports stadiums,’ Formula 1 and NASCAR did get some sales tax breaks and legislation signed. So, he's not completely opposed to giving certain breaks to some sports franchises or enterprises. But in this case, he – (Caputo’s internet connection cuts out here)
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. And Dave Aronberg, though he did, if it were just about the sports stadiums, he could have vetoed it and said, "I don't support giving money to sports stadiums or sports outfits," when, of course, Marc just pointed out that he does for ones he prefers. But again, there’s just-- there is an authoritarian streak here.
If you tweet something that a governor doesn't like, he will veto your spending and he will tell you that's why he vetoed the spending. He could have done noth-- He could have just vetoed it and said, "I don't like sports stadiums,” and leave it there but no, he wanted people to know. He’s punishing a private company, a private enterprise because of their political views with taxpayer money.
Same thing again, I talked about it before with Disney. Talked about with cruise lines that wanted, at the height of COVID, to keep their people safe, to have them wear masks, which any doctor – sane doctor would have said, this makes sense. Told them they couldn't do that. Told small businesses they couldn't have mask mandates if that's how they wanted to run their small business. Told school boards what they could or couldn't do despite the fact there's 67 counties in the huge state of Florida.
I mean, it is just craziness. This is not conservative. This is authoritarian. It’s plain and simple. Conservatives know that.
DAVE ARONBERG: Yeah, Joe. This is just the latest attack against private enterprise by a governor who ran as a pro-business conservative. You know, as you say, he's gone after social media companies who banned Trump, he’s penalized cruise lines for requiring vaccine mandates. He has punished Disney for opposing his ‘Don't Say Gay’ bill.
And yes, his critics call him an authoritarian. I would say he is more authoritarian-curious. He often resembles the socialist dictators he loves to hate, all while labeling our state the free state of Florida. And he just last week bullied the Special Olympics -- that's a new low -- he said drop the vaccine mandate or you're going to face a $27.5 million fine.
The Special Olympics responded, ‘we don't want to fight, we just want to play,’ and yet they capitulated because otherwise they would face hefty legal fees to challenge it.
So, this is yet another attack by DeSantis on an iconic American institution. And if you're keeping score at home, he's attacked the Special Olympics, baseball, Mickey Mouse, and even the First Amendment itself. And yet, he will be running in 2024 as an America First candidate for president, but you know, that's par for the course in MAGA world, where it is performance over policy, and the cruelty is the point.