Author Anand Giridharadas — a frequent contributor to MSNBC’s Morning Joe recognizable for his hair as much as his work — returned to the morning show Tuesday to speak about rising fear for immigrant families under the impending Trump presidency.
Giridharadas has been appearing in a string of MSNBC commercials as of late from a pre-Thanksgiving appearance on the show where he called for a higher level of discourse among families dealing with the election outcome. Giridharadas comes from an Indian family, and as he joked at the start of his segment Tuesday, “…because of genetic laws, my family looks like me.”
But Giridharadas’ appearance this morning was markedly different from many of his others; today, he and cohost Joe Scarborough got into a heated exchange over the essential system of checks and balances that would prevent President-elect Donald Trump from enacting some of his most wildly divisive campaign promises. Scarborough assured Giridharadas he has nothing to fear.
“When Clinton came in, I assured Republicans the center would hold,” Scarborough said of his own time in office. “When Bush came in and my Democratic friends would freak out… I said the same.”
But Giridharadas, identifying with the concerns of many immigrant families in this country, countered, “In moments of hysteria, fear, conflict, there have been exceptions. Internment was an exception.” For example, he argued, terror attacks “give the President license to do things” otherwise not acceptable of allowable by law.
The difference in perception split the two men for the better part of the segment, which dragged on well past the planned commercial break.
“James Madison created, along with Alexander Hamilton, a series of checks and balances that… I’ve said this to Donald Trump when he was attacking Paul Ryan — Paul Ryan? He can shut you down,” Scarborough noted to demonstrate the ways in which even the executive branch must answer to external checks.
But Giridharadas stood by his assertion that the “law” sometimes isn’t enough. “Under that system of checks and balances, we were able to do torture, we were able to do mass surveillance, we were able to do internment, we were able to do segregation, we were able to do slavery.”
“Those things have been considered Constitutional” in our nation’s history, Giridharadas continued. “Fear is not evenly distributed right now.”
“You’re not being rationale right now!” Scarborough shot out at one point. “I have confidence in the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Giridharadas shot back incredulously, “I’m not being rationale because I take the President-elect of the United States at his word?”
And of course — as per Godwin’s law — Scarborough went there. “Hitler is not coming back,” Scarborough said.
Watch the festive fireworks above via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) is an editorial producer and columnist at Mediaite.