Morning Joe, in the person of Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, took a victory lap this morning on the occasion of Donald Trump's impressive Super Tuesday victories. The theme of the opening half-hour: we told you so. Their point: from the day he announced his candidacy, the Morning Joe team took Trump seriously and said he could be a real factor. In contrast, the poobahs of politics and media made fools of themselves predicting Trump's imminent demise.
In an amusing spike-the-ball display, Morning Joe went to the length of producing a montage of its greatest hits, juxtaposing clips of MJ members being respectful of Trump's chances with clips of various talking heads writing him off. Scarborough repeatedly emphasized that it was not a matter of rooting for or preferring Trump--to the contrary he said he had been a Jeb supporter and now leans Kasich--but simply seeing things for what they were and are.
Note: for fans of the GOP, there was a baleful prediction. Scarborough three times quoted historian Jon Meacham saying, in light of the fracturing Trump has caused, that George W. might be the last Republican president ever.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Donald Trump announced his bid for the White House on June 16, remember that escalator ride? Well, nine months later he's likely closing in on the nomination. Here now is a look back at our analysis from day one compared to everybody else.
MORNING JOE MONTAGE: People just don't remember how much of a joke, a total joke, Ronald Reagan was with the national media. Say whatever you want to say about whatever candidate. When it's this close, anything can happen.
MIKA: He's in. What do you think?
JOE: Well, a lot of people in the media may scoff at it, see it as a PR stunt. He's got a lot of money. He obviously doesn't give a damn what anybody thinks about him and he doesn't play by the rules. He'll have everybody ridiculing him and say oh he's -- this is just a joke, this is -- then he'll go to South Carolina and he'll have a bigger crowd than every other established candidate. When he's on a debate stage and he turns to Scott Walker or Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush and hits them not with something mean-spirited but searing and truthful that nobody else in polite political society would say, it can shape a race.
MIKA: Nobody has the guts to say.
JOE: And so all these people saying he's going to have no impact, they don't get it.
MIKA: Sam Stein, what's so funny?
SAM STEIN: [whose HuffPo relegated Trump to entertainment section] No one is doubting his entertainment value and the fact that he can deliver a good line and the fact that he might have an impact on a debate stage. That's not in doubt. But to say that makes him serious is ridiculous.
NEW YORKER EDITOR: We've got to the the point where a comical figure, a comical blowhard like Donald Trump is conceivably a player.
MIKA: Everyone needs to stop overreacting to the line that he could have a serious impact on this race because as you pointed out last week he has the ability to liquefy people in one 20-second soundbite.
JOE: Listen, I'm not sitting here saying he debated well or would be a good president, I'm not saying that he doesn't say offensive things all the time. I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying this denial of reality by the mainstream media is actuallyy feeding into Donald Trump's strength.
REPORTER: Our big statement is that Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. We will not participate in this sort of legitimacy of a fringe candidate.
JOE: A guy that has a quarter of the vote, is way ahead in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, he's not a fringe candidate by its very definition. If Jeb Bush had Donald Trump's numbers the race would be over. T-K-Over.
WILLIE GEIST: I don't understand the question when a guy's at the top of the poll and he's been there for what, four months, now, the question is, is when will you decide to get out of the race?
MIKE BARNICLE: Maybe 100% of his supporters but certainly the vast majority of them who go to these rallies, they are not going away.
MIKA: So am I going to get a truck? [Barnicle told Mika he'd buy her a truck if Trump won nomination.]
BARNICLE: You're not getting a truck.
BILL KRISTOL: He's not going to win the thing, Joe.
JOE: Well, we don't know whether he is or not . . . Donald Trump's strength, mark it down, is the deep South, if Donald Trump gets past Iowa and New Hampshire he wins South Carolina by 20, he wins Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi.
MIKA: If you want someone to beat Hillary Clinton it would be Donald Trump because he will do things that none of those candidates will do. I'm not saying it's good and I'm not saying it's pretty and I'm not saying it's right, but the Democratic party has a problem if Trump wins the nomination.
End of Montage
JOE: Wow. I didn't know that. So what do you do after you dunk the ball and you shatter the back board. Do you just walk off the court, Willie?
GEIST: That's what Shaq used to do.
JOE: That's what Shaq used to do? Okay, I'm even surprised what we were saying June 16, 17, and 18. The day that Trump announced. We called it and all along we said, not because it's good, not because it's right, not because it's bad but we saw it coming, the establishment didn't and now they're shocked.