During Monday’s broadcast of Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough finally relented and said that the “one-two punch” of House Republicans inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak and the sending of a letter to Iran by 47 GOP Senators was a step too far for the party. In Scarborough’s mind, one or the other could be somewhat excused based on a number of reasons. However, the combination of the two events is “toxic” and shows how dysfunctional the country is right now.
Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski hosted a panel discussion about the continuing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States. A clip was played of an interview Secretary of State John Kerry gave Face the Nation on Sunday regarding the letter Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) authored and got 46 other Republican Senators to sign onto. During the interview, Kerry angrily denounced the letter and said he would not apologize to Iran or the international community for “the unconstitutional, un-thought-out action by somebody who’s been in the United States Senate for 60-something days.” Essentially, he said the GOP would have to answer for their own idiocy regarding the letter.
Another clip was played, also from Face the Nation, showing Cotton speaking with host Bob Schieffer about the letter and Iran. While Morning Joe didn’t show the part of the interview where Cotton got both the Constitution and geography wrong, it did show Schieffer needling Cotton about whether or not he’d send letters to other unfriendly regimes, such as North Korea. The panel, consisting of Julie Pace of the Associated Press, Bloomberg’s Andrew Hunt, the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart and Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, essentially agreed that Republicans are now in damage control mode and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made a huge mistake by endorsing the letter.
Scarborough did attempt to give some cover to Republicans over the letter. He stated that Democrats did the same thing the 1980s by sending correspondence to Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas during Nicaragua’s civil war with Contra rebels. Joe also said that Cotton is a freshman, and freshmen do stupid things. However, Scarborough did eventually concede that the combination of Bibi’s speech and a letter that was signed by most of the Republican Senators, including its leader, showed that the GOP was taking things too far.
After Capehart had explained why the White House is extremely angry over the complete lack of respect shown to them by Republicans, Scarborough added these thoughts:
“If you just asked me about Netanyahu, I’d say ‘It’s happened before. He can show up.’ If you ask me about the letter, taken apart, I go, ‘You know what? Freshmen do stuff like that. It was stupid.’ But there’s something about those two actions in tandem, together, a couple weeks apart, that I must agree with a lot of really smart writers at your paper and the New York Times, that taken together…I do think it has a really toxic mix about how dysfunctional the United States of America is right now.”
Scarborough also acknowledged, sort of, that Brzezinski had been right all along about the letter being very damaging, as she was extremely critical of it the moment it was released.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
It should be telling to the GOP when one of their biggest apologists goes on the air and says that they are not only screwing up, but screwing up royally. While many Republicans are already backtracking and wishing they’d never signed the letter, that Pandora’s Box is now open and nothing they do can make it go away.