President Trump: would-be dictator, or mental patient? Nice choice that Morning Joe offered us today!
Scarborough opened the show by saying he and Mika "really differ" in their reactions to President Trump's statement yesterday that he had "total authority," superseding that of governors, to re-open the economy. Mika announced: "President Trump added another step yesterday in his march toward authoritarianism. He tried."
"I know, we really differ here. You’re very, very concerned when he talks like that, about the Constitution and the country. I'm actually mainly concerned for his mental health."
Scarborough went on to snidely say he feels "very, very badly" [sic, should be "bad"], for people at Trump's alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, "who have to walk around in shame every day that he graduated from their college," given his supposed lack of understanding of the Constitution.
Note that President Trump's own statement belies Mika's suggestion that he is seeking to overturn the Constitution. Trump described the powers of the presidency that exist "when somebody's the President of the United States." That reflects a recognition that a person only occupies the presidency for a limited time, to be succeeded by another.
Also, it is an absurd stretch for Joe and Mika to suggest that President Trump's use of the term "when I took over," implies any pretension to dictatorial powers. It's simply a colloquial expression denoting the moment at which Trump entered office.
Finally, Joe must be joking when he imagines Penn students hanging their heads in shame over President Trump's alleged unfamiliarity with "Madisonian democracy." Surely Scarborough has seen videos like this one of students at George Mason University in the DC suburbs, unable to identify a photo of Joe Biden . . . when he was the sitting Vice-President of the United States!
Here's the transcript.
6:00 am EDT
DONALD TRUMP [at the 2016 GOP convention]: Nobody knows the system better than me. Which is why I alone can fix it.
STEPHEN MILLER: The powers of the president are very substantial and will not be questioned.
PRESIDENT TRUMP [9/19]: Iran is a different place than when I took over. When I took over the United States.
PRESIDENT TRUMP [10/19]: When I took over our military, we didn’t have ammunition.
PRESIDENT TRUMP [4/13/20]: When somebody's the President of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: President Trump added another step yesterday —
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, no.
MIKA: -- in his march toward authoritarianism. He tried.
SCARBOROUGH: He tried.
MIKA: Good morning and welcome to Morning Joe. It’s Tuesday.
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, that’s the thing: he tried. And you know, the thing is, he’s done this before. And I know, we really differ here. You’re very, very concerned when he talks like that, about the Constitution and the country. I’m actually mainly concerned for his mental health.
And also, the extraordinary — I feel very, very badly [sic, "bad"] whenever he speaks that way, Willie, for people at Penn, who have to walk around in shame every day that he graduated from their college, knowing no more about history, or the Constitution, or Madisonian democracy than he does. It's just -- again, he's just blabbered for years: "Article 2 gives me all the power I need." And then you’ll have Trump apologists going, “Well, that’s not exactly what he meant to say.” He just keeps going back to saying, “Yes, ultimate power as President of the United States.” And he did it again yesterday.