MSNBC host and former Republican Joe Scarborough told his audience Monday morning that President Donald “Trump would kill reporters if he could get away with it,” comparing the U.S. president to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
What are the details?
Scarborough made the comment during his criticism of Trump’s “60 Minutes” interview with CBS News journalist Lesley Stahl, which aired the night before, hitting out at the president for criticizing Stahl after she began the sit-down by asking: “Are you ready for some tough questions?”
“How fascinating that Donald Trump says it’s, quote, inappropriate for Lesley Stahl to ask tough questions,” Scarborough said “It’s just, it’s really fascinating at this point to look how much that Donald Trump resembles an autocratic leader from eastern Europe, whether it’s Belarus or whether it’s Russia.
“Actually, though he kills journalists, Vladimir Putin on camera actually seems a little more willing to answer tough questions when they are asked of him,” Scarborough continued. “Donald Trump can’t even handle that.
“Of course, Donald Trump would kill reporters if he could get away with it,” the MSNBC host said. “I think even his strongest supporters would admit Trump would do whatever he could get away with.”
The Daily Caller reported that Scarborough “made similar comments back in February, claiming ‘dictator’ Trump would ‘arrest every journalist he didn’t like’ if he could get away with it.”
Scarborough and his “Morning Joe” co-host and wife Mika Brzezinski interviewed Trump frequently on their show before he became president in 2016, but the MSNBC duo has since become fervent enemies of the president.
What about the 2015 interview?
During a 2015 interview on “Morning Joe,” then-candidate Trump was pressed by Scarborough to condemn Putin’s killing of journalists who do not agree with the Russian leader.
Scarborough, who previously served as a U.S. congressman for Florida, asked Trump what he thought about Putin giving him a compliment.
“When people call you brilliant, it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia,” Trump replied.
“Well, he’s also a person that kills journalists and political opponents and invades countries,” Scarborough said. “That would be a concern, would it not?”
“He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” Trump responded.
“But again, he kills journalists that don’t agree with him,” Scarborough said.
Trump argued back, “Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe. You know, there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world right now, Joe. A lot of killing going on and a lot of stupidity.”
Trump finally relented that he does condemn Putin’s killing of journalists and political opponents.
When asked about how America’s relationship with Russia might change under a Trump presidency, Trump said, “I’ve always felt fine about Putin. I think he is a strong leader, he’s a powerful leader, he’s represented his country the way — the country is being represented.”