Scarborough Demands 'Civility' Before Insulting Mitch Daniels' 'Unseemly Resentment' for Family
On the May 23 edition of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough accused Mitch
Daniels of having "resentment" for his wife and derided the Indiana
governor as "unseemly."
Moments earlier, the MSNBC host and his panel heaped mounds of praise on the "civil" Jon Huntsman, hailing him as the "'Morning Joe' candidate" whose civility deserved to be admired, before lobbing insults at Daniels.
Rebuking the tone of Daniels's announcement that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012, Scarborough lectured, "Don't throw your wife and daughters under the bus."
"He has hung this around his wife and daughter's neck," added Scarborough, a former Republican congressman.
Scarborough used the word "unseemly" twice to describe the conservative governor, going so far as to accuse him of harboring resentment for his family.
"It was a laser focus on his wife, and I guess the girls in his family - a resentment that was unseemly," decried Scarborough.
Compared to Scarborough's jeering, MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin chose a more diplomatic - perhaps even civil - approach to criticizing Daniels.
"He's kind of a quirky guy, Mitch Daniels," intoned Time's editor-at-large. "I think he did it the way his heart told him to do it."
Co-host Mike Brzezinski, the only woman panelist, even expressed support for Daniels, remarking, "I really don't think it was resentment. I think it sounded kind of loving," to which an incredulous Scarborough sneered, "Seriously?"
This isn't the first time Scarborough has failed to live up to his "keep calm and carry on" doctrine. In February, the "Morning Joe" co-host opined that Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget blueprint "seems kind of un-American to me." In December 2010, he implored viewers to "judge not" before insulting Sens. Kyl and DeMint as "un-Christlike." And for good measure, Scarborough once told his critics to "kiss my ass."
A transcript of the relevant portions of the May 23 segment can be found below:
6:10 a.m. EDT
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Pawlenty makes his first official campaign stop today in Iowa. After a month of contemplating a run, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels says he will not seek the nomination, citing his family as the deciding factor. In an email to supporters, Daniels wrote, "In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one. The interests and wishes of my family is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry."
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Let's talk about that, Mike Barnicle. I just - don't throw your wife and daughters under the bus and say, "I can understand. I can understand if you don't think I'm patriotic for doing this, I understand. The whole thing seemed to throw his wife and children under the bus and he's got five girls - four girls and a wife. They've already been through hell and back on the personal front. I can understand why they wouldn't want to open this back up. Can he not just say, I have decided not to run for president? I don't understand why he had to - he has hung this around his wife and daughter's neck and it has, through the weekend, they have been getting abused on conservative feeds, twitter feeds, whatever.
BRZEZINSKI: But wouldn't they anyway?
SCARBOROUGH: He did not have to - he could just say I choose not to do this. I thought it just a tad "unseemly" that he said "I would have done this, I would have done this, but for my wife."
MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC contributor: No, I understand where you're coming from here and reading this statement, it struck me you're getting a little too much information, more than I need why you're not running for president. The other thing it raises, while reading the statement is the way we cover these things.
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, New York Times: I can't believe you think it's too much information. Ultimately if he said, "I'm not running, then for two days, running around in circles, why is he not running?"
SCARBOROUGH: I think a husband and father should have said, "I decided not to do it and my family got together and we decided it's not in our best interests and not the right time." Why? Because our family got together and had a family discussion and decided this was not the right time. You've read a lot of these statements before, were you surprised?
MARK HALPERIN, Time magazine: It was unusual.
SCARBOROUGH: It was a laser focus on his wife, and I guess the girls in his family - a resentment that was unseemly.
HALPERIN: He's kind of a quirky guy, Mitch Daniels. I think he did it the way his heart told him to do it.
BRZEZINSKI: I really don't think it was resentment. I think it sounded kind of loving.
SCARBOROUGH: Seriously? You're making me tired today. Tell me why you thought it was loving?
SCARBOROUGH: As they were saying that, yes, I agree with you, I agree with you. The red light comes on, you say, I disagree, I thought it was loving. Now tell me, Mika, as the woman at the table, why did you think it was loving?
BRZEZINSKI: Because he was deferring to them. Decisions were made along the way in my family where my mother had a say over my father's plans.
SCARBOROUGH: Like all of them.
BRZEZINSKI: I don't think there's anything more important.
- Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.