In covering President Donald Trump‘s continuing praise for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Morning Joe on Thursday reached back to their own interview from 2015 to compare with Trump’s comments then about Russian President Vladimir Putin. The language was strikingly similar.
On Wednesday night, in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, the President continued his ongoing praise for Kim, and also took the extraordinary step of explaining to Bret that murderous brutality was a feature of Kim being a “tough guy” in a “tough country” with “tough people.” Trump has already said many times that Kim “loves” his people.
Joe Scarborough played the Fox clip, and then related it to a remarkably similar moment from December 2015 when Morning Joe had then-candidate Trump on air by phone and Joe asked him about Putin’s murderous ways.
In the 2015 clip, Scarborough points out to Trump that Putin is a brutal dictator. Trump dissembles.
Scarborough says to Trump that Putin “kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries.” He prompts Trump to condemn that. “It 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,” said Trump.
Surprised 2015 Scarborough repeats the problem. “He kills journalists that don’t agree with him.
“Well I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe,” Trump replied, following almost the exact same pattern as his remarks to Bret Baier just yesterday. “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things,” Trump said in this week’s version of dictator praise.
Scarborough observes then that Trump has a consistent history of admiring “tyrants” and “strongmen.” He also makes the astute and important point about those who Trump chooses to admire as friends and those he reviles as enemies.
Dictators are to be admired, just doing what it takes to get the job done. But as for enemies:
“America’s greatest enemy, and Donald Trump said it himself, the free press. Is, is America’s biggest enemy. That free press guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Donald Trump considers to be America’s greatest enemy.”
Co-host Willie Geist added that the most telling part of these clips is how Trump views strength.
“Somebody who beats their chest and rules with an iron fist, Donald Trump views that as strength” said Geist. “He views someone like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, one of our closest allies, as weak, based on his perception of what strength is. And it has real-world implications now.”
Scarborough closed with a fascinating hypothetical experiment.
“If you look at all the things, Mike, that Donald Trump has said about autocrats, tyrants, rulers whether they are in Russia or North Korea or China, whether they are in the Philippines, whether they’re in Turkey. Wherever they are. And you just, you just take the transcript of everything he has said since he has run for president and compare it to what he said about democratic institutions. The democratic institutions that are the most important to uphold the Constitution of the united States, whether it’s our intel community, whether it’s our CIA, whether it’s our FBI, our Justice Department, whether it’s law enforcement personnel. Whatever it is. Whether it’s our democratically elected allies, whether it’s NATO. You put that into a computer program. You don’t need a Republican or a Democrat or a journalist to come to a conclusion. It would conclude beyond a shadow, a reasonable doubt that Donald Trump admires autocrats.”
Watch above, courtesy of MSNBC.
[Featured image via screengrab]