The absurd response from right-wingers and media comedienne Michelle Wolf’s edgy, occasionally mean-spirited monologue at the White House Correspondents dinner on Saturday night clearly got under the skin of “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough.
The former Congressman and MSNBC host slammed the reaction to her jokes by supporters of President Trump, who chose to interpret one of Wolf’s jokes as an attack on the looks of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Scarborough rightfully condemned the backlash as hypocritical, especially considering how often President Trump has shamelessly mocked women’s looks – like when he attacked Rosie O’Donnell, saying she was “a very unattractive person both inside and out.”
What really set Scarborough off, however, was the memory it brought back of when Trump attacked his cohost and fiancee Mika Brzezinski’s “appearance and intelligence.”
Turning to Brzezinski, Scarborough said, “Really, Mike, the criticism from Trump supporters is rich.”
“I must say, there were quite a few people that I’ve known and I’ve considered friends for some time saying they were shocked and stunned and deeply saddened and they were so shocked by the personal insults that they left early.”
“And then they went to afterparties and had a great time there, continued Scarborough, “but these friends of mine for 20 years certainly didn’t call me up and say, ‘Hey Joe, we’re thinking about you. So sorry he attacked your fiancee’s appearance.”
Scarborough was referring to a Twitter attack by Trump in June 2017 about her having had plastic surgery, but also referencing her bleeding, which was also interpreted as an attack on her being a woman.
I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
Scarborough also brought up an attack on him in November 2017 making reference to the death of a female member of his staff in 2001 who was found dead in his office. The Florida coroner ruled that the 28-year-old woman, who had a heart condition, fell and hit her head and the death was accidental.
That didn’t stop Trump from spreading the outrageous allegations:
So now that Matt Lauer is gone when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin? And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017
Where were his friends when that happened, asked Scarborough? Why didn’t they complain at the time that this was unfair and show some solidarity with him?
“I understand it. I’m a big boy,” Scarborough said this morning. “I didn’t bitch about it at the time.”
“But these people so shocked and stunned and deeply saddened that a comedian did what comedians do and yet they just apologized for Donald Trump over and over again and kept their mouths shut. What a joke,” he continued.
“That is rich,” piped in Brzezinski.
Brzezinski was critical of the choice of Wolf, mainly because it gave the press bashing Trump supporters another reason to bash the entire press corps.
“Who didn’t predict it becoming a huge problem having a comedian who is a little edgy coming into the White House correspondents dinner when the press is under fire by the president himself,” Brzezinski said, reports The Hill.
“We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. I think it’s really having it both ways to have this woman at the dinner and then apologize for it. You own it, White House Correspondents’ Association. You invited her,” she said.
The WHCA said in a statement Wolf’s jokes were “not in the spirit” of the organization’s mission.
Scarborough said the question is whether the press at this time they are under attack should be having an edgy comic as part of the dinner.
He said if this had been an appearance by comedians Lenny Bruce years ago or by Dave Chappelle at the end of the Clinton era, it would be no surprise that they would come and do what they always do, which is bound to offend some.
“It’s not on the artist,” said Scarborough. “It’s not on the comedian to change their act.”
“This was a win for Trump,” lamented Brzezinski. “If you didn’t want this to be a win for Trump, you gave him one in a big way…This was over the top.”
“I was horrified by it,” she added, “because we were actually undermining ourselves.”
What Scarborough is pointing out is the huge divide between the press and the White House that has infected view of the media and brought even the rights of the First Amendment into a new focus.
Trump gets away with outrageous statements, attacks on women, Democrats and even the handicapped, and then lies about what he said – but he does it so often it seems almost normal at this point.
But when a comedienne takes a scalpel to his lying press secretary and to his notorious counsellor who thinks “alternative facts” can replace the truth, that is somehow seen as out of bounds.
It just shows as Scarborough is saying, the world is upside down under Trump, and the joke is on the American people.