Joe Scarborough should get his facts straight the next time he's tempted to accuse a Republican of being "politically depraved." Today's Morning Joe featured excerpts from Jacob Soboroff's Today show interview of Gavin Newsom, in which the California Governor floated the possibility that Ron DeSantis might be guilty of "kidnapping" for having flown migrants from New Mexico to Sacramento.
Commenting on it, Scarborough said:
"I also think about flying immigrants up to the Naval Observatory. A lot of them in t-shirts, and dumping them outside of the Vice President's residence on Christmas eve, where it's freezing. Again, they think that they're owning Kamala Harris. All they're doing is showing just, just the core of their existence.
"And on Christmas eve to do this to little three, four, five-year-old children in t-shirts, dumping them in freezing weather? For a political stunt? It seems politically depraved to me at least. And I think Newsom is underlining that fact now in an important way."
Except . . . DeSantis didn't fly migrants to DC and have them dropped off near Kamala Harris's residence in late December 2022. That was the work of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, as he has made clear.
For that matter, while some of the migrants were apparently wearing T-shirts, they were not left to suffer in the cold. As Politico has reported, employees of the relief agency working with the city of Washington:
"had blankets ready for the people who arrived on Christmas Eve and moved them quickly onto waiting buses for a ride to an area church."
Either Scarborough was ignorant of the facts, or he intentionally misrepresented them. So who's "politically depraved" now?
DeSantis did arrange for migrants to be flown to tony Martha's Vineyard. But that was in late summer 2022.
Readers are encouraged to view the excerpt of Newsom's interview in the clip. This was a man at peak, haughty arrogance. Calling DeSantis "small and pathetic," Newsom superciliously said that he was being "very generous" in doing so.
And how rich was it to hear Newsom accuse DeSantis of being "desperate for attention?" This from the guy who snared a national TV interview to peddle the attention-grabbing suggestion that a fellow governor was guilty of kidnapping. Even Katty Kay, who liked Newsom's performance, saw it as Newsom auditioning for a future presidential run against DeSantis. And legal experts, including a Berkeley law professor [!], have expressed the opinion that the facts do not support a kidnapping charge.
Scarborough and Katty Kay were impressed by Newsom's imperious performance. Kay lauded the "strength" that Newsom projected, and Scarborough praised Newsom for underlining DeSantis' supposed depravity "in an important way."
Rather than being impressed, I found Newsom's swagger odiously reminiscent of another big-state governor: Eliot Spitzer of New York. Spitzer was the guy who threatened a Republican legislator, bragging: “I am a f---ing steamroller and I’ll roll over you or anybody else.”
Spitzer barely made one year in office before being forced to resign after it came to light that the married governor was a frequent customer of a high-priced escort service.
Not saying that Newsom will get ensnared in a similar scandal, but things have a way of not working out well for egotistical politicians drunk on their own power.
Here's the transcript.
7:14 am EDT
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: California Governor Gavin Newsom tells NBC News he plans to launch an investigation into flights of migrants flown from New Mexico to Sacramento, which were orchestrated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, saying that he believes that it's clear that a crime was committed.
Florida officials confirmed the DeSantis administration organized two flights to fly migrants from New Mexico to Sacramento. In a statement releasedy esterday, Florida's Division of Emergency Management said, quote, through verbal and written consent, these volunteers indicated they wanted to go to California. The statement included this video of migrants allegedly on their way, about three dozen migrants were ultimately relocated. They said that they were recruited for the trip outside of a shelter in El Paso, Texas. Several said that they were promised help finding work.
Here is what California Governor Newsom told NBC's Jacob Soboroff in a Today exclusive.
JACOB SOBOROFF: These flights of asylum seekers that are being brought to Sacramento, there've been two of them now. They've been described as state-sanctioned kidnapping by the attorney general of this state of California.
You tweeted directly at the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. I want to get this right: you called him a small, pathetic man and asked, quote, kidnapping charges?
Is that, is that what you believe happened, governor? The Governor of Florida kidnapped migrants and brought them to California?
GAVIN NEWSOM: I think I'm being generous, small and pathetic. Very generous. He's just weakness masquerading as strength. Yeah. He's flailing. Desperate for attention. Let's just level-set here, let's level-set. Here's a governor from the state of Florida that is using taxpayer money. And he had to go to another state to find people under false pretense.
I don't think this, I IIknow this. I talked to the migrants. Lied to them, took them into another state by bus, and then took them on a chartered flight to Sacramento, lying to them that they had help on the other side, knocked on the door and they left these migrants right there on the steps.
What kind of human being does that?
SOBOROFF: Ron DeSantis is going to be landing in this city later this month to hold a fundraiser for his presidential campaign.
NEWSOM: Yeah. Yeah.
SOBOROFF: Should he be worried that law enforcement officials in this state are going to arrest him when he walks off the plane?
NEWSOM: Now we're getting into hyperbole. Bottom line is --
SOBOROFF: Well, just respectfully, I mean, I don't think it's hyperbole. I mean, you're the one raising criminality potentially.
NEWSOM: Potentially, yeah. And we have to do the investigation. And so, it's ready, aim, fire. Not ready, fire, aim. That's his approach. Our approach is to seek first to collect all the facts. But on the basis of facts and evidence that were provided, and by the way, I didn't take this in the third party, right? I was there with these folks directly and listened to how they -- I mean, you know, human beings. Used as pawns for a guy's political advancement. That's pretty sad and pathetic.
And so, I take this very seriously and as I said, we are not Martha's Vineyard. I love Martha's vineyard, but this is California. Fourth or fifth largest economy on the planet Earth. We mean business. And so Ron Desantis should know that. And everyone that's been part of this, they may have more direct accountability and culpability, should know that we mean business and we're not backing away from getting the facts and holding those accountable if they broke the laws in the state of California.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Boy, you know, that's a fascinating interview and you can see more of Jacob's interview of the governor tomorrow on the Today show. And we're going to be following that story?
I did enjoy the cutaways where Jacob would be saying, well, you called it kidnapping. He's like [Scarborough imitates Newsom shrugging.] You say he's a small and pathetic man. What can I say?
MIKA: [laughs heartily]
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think he's a kidnapper, is he running a human trafficking ring? Ehh.
You know, the, the thing is though that he's doing --and I think it is so important, Katty, he is calling out the fact that if it's not criminal, and I don't know, perhaps it may be criminal, the attorney general in California thinks it does.
But even if it's not, it is abhorrent that Ron DeSantis is using human beings, not really for political gain, just simply to own the libs. And you know, we're talking about going to Sacramento here. But I think about, you know, you could talk about Martha's Vineyard, rounding up people, throwing them on a plane, so you could own the libs that go to Martha's Vineyard.
Like again, little children, their moms, grandparents, it's just heinous. But I also think about flying immigrants up to the Naval Observatory. A lot of them in t-shirts, and dumping them outside of the Vice President's residence on Christmas Eve, where it's freezing. Again, they think that they're owning Kamala Harris. All they're doing is showing just, just the core of their existence.
And on Christmas Eve to do this to little three, four, five-year-old children in t-shirts, dumping them in freezing weather? For a political stunt? It seems politically depraved to me at least. And I think Newsom is underlining that fact now in an important way.
KATTY KAY: Yeah. By the way, did anyone else think that sounded like Gavin Newsom preparing to run against Ron DeSantis in four years time? Cause that, the way he was talking about DeSantis, the way he was projecting strength in that interview, it struck me as that.
You're right. And the other important point about that interview, we've heard a lot about, I don't know, rapists and drug runners coming across the border. It's refreshing and unusual to hear a politician of Newsom's stature talk about them with the humanity he just expressed.