On Monday, September 10, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough penned an OpEd for The Washington Post. In it, he claimed President Donald "Trump is harming the dream of America more than any foreign adversary ever could."
In the Post piece, Scarborough quoted New York Times’ Roger Cohen. A month after the 2016 presidential election, Cohen wrote:
"America is an idea. Strip freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law from what the United States represents to the world and America itself is gutted."
On Tuesday morning, Scarborough clarified his point during his morning show. The MSNBC host cited the President's refusal to condemn racism and retweeting of posts from known white supremacist or other organized hate groups.
Scarborough—a Republican former United States House of Representatives member—stated:
"That is tearing more at the fabric of America than attacks on the Twin Towers did. We rebuilt after that, we grew stronger after that, but this, to me, seems like a far graver threat."
"Forget about knocking down buildings in the Financial District, forget about running planes into the Pentagon. Those are tragedies, but those tragedies bring us closer together."
Former Chief of the New York City (NYC) Transit Police and NYC Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton tweeted Scarborough's OpEd on Tuesday, calling it "appropriate."
On this very meaningful day, Joe Scarborough's op-ed is so appropriate. Nice work, @JoeNBC. https://t.co/HK80UchNkb— Bill Bratton (@Bill Bratton)1536672186.0
But later that morning, the President's first child with first wife Ivana Trump—Donald Trump Jr.—demanded an apology from Scarborough on behalf of others.
Joe you owe an apology to the 3000+ families who lost loved ones on this tragic day. Injecting politics today is di… https://t.co/4zv8c7i0mE— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.)1536679010.0
Trump Jr. stated politics on 9/11 "is disgraceful and only shows how irrelevant and deranged you’ve become." His father faced a bit of backlash of his own for his behavior upon arriving in Pennsylvania en route to a 9/11 ceremony in Shanksville honoring those who perished on Flight 93.
While approaching gathered supporters, the elder Trump pumped his fists and drew criticism for his "first instinct upon arriving for an incredibly solemn ceremony, is to act as if you're at one of your rallies."
Scarborough did not respond to Trump Jr.'s tweet, but he did reply to criticism from a colleague, Jeryl Bier of The Weekly Standard. Monday night, Bier referred to Scarborough's OpEd as "freaking stupid" but on Tuesday—citing a crisis of conscience—Bier tempered his response.
This premise is freaking stupid, just provocative for the sake of being provocative. https://t.co/wZHtLIHpTQ— Jeryl Bier (@Jeryl Bier)1536638113.0
OK, I haven't been called out by anyone, but my conscience has been bothering me, so let me just say while I still… https://t.co/eSkfMzqJt0— Jeryl Bier (@Jeryl Bier)1536677958.0
Scarborough responded to Bier, acknowledging he could choose his own words more carefully. He also cited the last paragraph of his OpEd becoming the sole focus for many Trump supporters, missing the point of his overall opinion.
Jeryl, you’re a great example for all of us—especially me today. Many have been offended by a tweet I sent out earl… https://t.co/hOKyg4iWz9— Joe Scarborough (@Joe Scarborough)1536679500.0
The column was focused on 17 years of strategic missteps. The last paragraph became the sole focus of Trump support… https://t.co/imzvtBHoIE— Joe Scarborough (@Joe Scarborough)1536679768.0
On September 11th, I’ll read the column again and think about whether I could have said the same thing in a way les… https://t.co/F00gsjkl4t— Joe Scarborough (@Joe Scarborough)1536679907.0
But while Scarborough failed to address Trump Jr., his Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski did in the following tweet.
Shortly after the tweet was posted by Donald Trump Jr., Brzezinski retweeted it with her response.
Don.. The clock is ticking. Must be stressful. Maybe take a nap and relax. Have some chamomile tea or something. M… https://t.co/Xcd7xE9YON— Mika Brzezinski (@Mika Brzezinski)1536680292.0
The multiple exchanges brought mixed reactions.
Some remember during the 2016 presidential campaign—before the current animosity—pundits accused Republican Scarborough and Brzezinski of being too friendly with candidate Trump.
While others took exception to Trump Jr.'s tweet or his father's conduct.
@DonaldJTrumpJr You could absolutely care less about those families. Show us one thing you did to help.....We will be waiting....forever.— Optimist (@Optimist)1536679358.0
@DonaldJTrumpJr And what about this⁉️ Does he think he’s at a Rally⁉️ https://t.co/OEwaM9t0XR— Loud & Proud (@Loud & Proud)1536688338.0
@morningmika @POzzur https://t.co/kSFbvSTXYD— Kari Dunn (@Kari Dunn)1536689475.0
@morningmika Right... A lecture from the guy who just pumped up the crowd heading to a memorial service.— Democracy Festering (@Democracy Festering)1536680816.0
@morningmika https://t.co/T1FBj0c29x— BK in_theVille (@BK in_theVille)1536682777.0
While Brzezinski's response also drew ire.
@morningmika Know Your Value, @morningmika. Kind of snarky for a news “professional”.— Tim Lock (@Tim Lock)1536688713.0
@morningmika How dare you! 9/11 is neither political or funny. People died and they are still dying!— Joaquin"Jack"Garcia (@Joaquin"Jack"Garcia)1536685265.0
As did Scarborough's post of his OpEd on his Twitter feed.
@JoeNBC You’re article was an insult to all Americans not just Trump Supporters. You completely miss the point that… https://t.co/w1G1Pdbdum— charmander (@charmander)1536681417.0
As for that final paragraph Scarborough spoke of? He closed his Washington Post OpEd stating:
"The question for voters this fall is whether their country will move beyond this troubled chapter in history or whether they will continue supporting a politician who has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could."