From presidential tweets to political predictions.
September 2018 – Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough talked politics with a mixture of analysis, humor and anecdotes at Drew.
The hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe also reflected on their parents, Scarborough’s days as a Republican Congressman and the singular situations that Brzezinski faced as the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor.
The event, which included questions from a packed audience, was supported by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. Here are the five most interesting takes.
Checks and balances
Scarborough is heartened by the design of the U.S. government and how different branches and individuals reign in presidential power, but Brzezinski is less sanguine.
“You have a guy named James Madison who created the government that was specifically framed to frustrate the likes of him,” Scarborough said, referring to President Trump. “Checks and balances everywhere you turn. Checks and balances on Capital Hill. Checks and balances in the bureaucracy. Checks and balances with reporters, with authors like Bob Woodward, with op-ed columnists.”
Still, Brzezinski said, “I don’t feel like we’re on solid ground. I’m not saying we’re doomed—that was a joke. But I do think that the wrong set of circumstances come together and he could be putting our democracy in peril.”
Scarborough said he had stopped reading President Trump’s tweets. And while Brzezinski acknowledged that many are fatigued by them, she said they’d continue to be newsworthy given the source.
“This is the president speaking to the American people and … look at how many followers he has. But it’s not just that,” Brzezinski said. “This is a window into his mind. I know, but you can’t pretend something isn’t happening when you’re covering the president of the United States—even if he’s tweeting about me!”
Serving Deng Xiaoping
When Brzezinski’s father, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was national security advisor, he hosted a dinner at his McLean, Va. home for Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader. And as was customary for the Brzezinskis, everybody pitched in. “My brothers and I did everything,” recalled Mika, who was 11 at the time. Her task was to serve appetizers. At one point, however, she stumbled, sending caviar into the lap of the foreign leader. Not fun.
Brzezinski and Scarborough called on U.S. leaders to put aside political differences and work together to find solutions to pressing problems.
“Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan did it. And it made a huge difference,” Scarborough said. “That’s what we have got to rediscover as Republicans, as Democrats and as independents.”
Continuing the thought, Brzezinski added: “We want to move forward in a lot of ways and move past some of the things that perhaps got us to this moment. There are some things that we can get back to as well, and that’s the camaraderie, the differences, the joy, the friction. My dad loved some of the process and hearing both points of view. And right now we’re in a very different space.”
Citing the past history of presidents being elected from one party and then the other party gaining legislative seats two years later, Scarborough predicted that Democrats will “have a massive, massive victory” in the November mid-term elections. And while other presidents who experienced this went on to be reelected—including George W. Bush and Barack Obama—Scarborough doesn’t think that history will repeat itself.
“It’s not going to happen again. In fact, I’m here to tell you—write it down—Donald Trump will not run in 2020,” Scarborough said. “There are so many reasons why. He doesn’t want to lose. Donald Trump fears losing more than he likes winning. Also, the thing we know about Donald is the thing that he cares about more than anything in the world is money. And he’s going to want to cash in on being an ex-president in his mid-70s, instead of his late 70s, early 80s.”