UPDATE: As Tim Graham, my former editor at NewsBusters, has pointed out, in 2011, MSNBC suspended Mark Halperin for calling President Obama a “dick” on Morning Joe. Odds that Heilemann [formerly Halperin’s close collaborator] suffers a similar fate for his slur? Slim and none.
In its unremitting attack on President Trump, Morning Joe might have hit a vulgar new low today when MSNBC analyst John Heilemann alluded to President Trump as a “total scumbag.”
Here’s the context: what changed Morning Joe from merely another MSM Trump antagonist into raging, Trump-hating fanatics was a 2017 Trump tweet claiming that Mika Brzezinski had turned up at Mar-a-Lago bleeding from a facelift.
So when Trump yesterday tweeted criticism of those who speculated that Melania’s recent absence from public view was attributable to a facelift, Morning Joe pounced. Scarborough and Heilemann unleashed a string of epithets, including Heilemann’s “total scumbag,” condemning anyone who would hurtfully suggest that a woman had a facelift. Although said in the context of those speculating about Melania, Trump was—as Heilemann later admitted—their real target.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: To make something up about someone having a facelift for the sole purposes of trying to damage or humiliate them, you would have to be utterly despicable, a classless man, to say that about a woman.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Total scumbag. You have to be just grotesque. You have to be the most repulsive —
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I’m enjoying this.
HEILEMANN: — disgraceful, ridiculous, asinine person in the world.
Note: Morning Joe claimed that, in fact, no major news source had speculated that Melania had a facelift. But what multiple major outlets, including USA Today, HuffPost, Vox, Marie Claire and The Guardian did was to quote various third-party tweets to that effect. That’s the social media equivalent of “some say,” an insidious method of putting in someone else’s mouth something you want out there but don’t dare say yourself.
Note segundo: not that there was any doubt, but at one point Heilemann admitted that they were referring to Trump in a “not-too-veiled” way.