On Friday, Russia published alist of 500 additional Americans that it has banned from entering the country. At least some of the banned people are pleased to have made the list, perhaps seeing it as something of a Red Badge of Courage.
And so it was that on today’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough managed to mention that he was among those banned by Putin. But the oh-so-humble Scarborough didn’t quite come right out and say it.
Instead, Scarborough said that the list:
“includ[ed] a certain morning cable-news host who goes by the name of Joe.”
In the unlikely event that any viewer missed Scarborough’s transparent reference to himself, Mika helpfully pointed to him as he made his remark. As usual, Scarborough suggested all this proved there was Russian Collusion with Trump, since Trump’s red-hot media enemies are banned. Forget the Durham report!
Mika, and fellow regular Richard Haass of the Council of Foreign Relations, expressed disappointment at not making the list, both saying they felt “left out” by Putin’s snub.
Haass and Scarborough speculated darkly about the Trump/Putin relationship. Haass suggested that Putin had put Trump antagonists on the list in the hope that if Trump wins back the presidency in 2024, he could change US policy on Ukraine. That’s not rocket science, since Trump went on CNN and claimed he’d somehow end that Ukraine thing in 24 hours.
Note: at one point Scarborough said that in compiling the list, Putin:
“Again, think about how bizarre this is that Vladimir Putin, in the middle of a hot war, decides pick[ed] domestic political opponents of Donald Trump—who Donald Trump considers his opponents.”
As if Scarborough is just considered Trump’s opponent, and is not—quite literally—a raving, table-pounding enemy of the former president?
Here’s the transcript.
6:20 am EDT
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You know what else is extraordinary, Richard Haass, and you, you, Ed [Luce] just brought it up. And you have people — and I even saw this weekend people trying to dismiss the bizarre connections between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Still trying to do it this weekend, claiming that Durham somehow turns everything into a hoax.
You have Vladimir Putin, a guy who considers himself to be America’s enemy, putting more people on the Russian sanctions list, including a certain morning cable-news host who goes by the name of Joe [Mika Brzezinski chuckles], and Brad Raffensperger, and, and these prosecutors that had absolutely nothing to do with Russia. He just selected people that had been considered Donald Trump’s political enemies.
Again, a foreign country, sanctioning a secretary of state of Georgia. Not Georgia the republic, the former Soviet republic, but –and Brian Williams? Rachel Maddow? Seth Meyers?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I’m feeling a little left out.
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, Brad Raffensperger? You have, you have people who are Donald Trump’s critics.
SCARBOROUGH: Again, think about how bizarre this is that Vladimir Putin, in the middle of a hot war, decides he’s going to pick domestic political opponents of Donald Trump—who Donald Trump considers his opponents, and sanction them in Russia.
How strange is that Putin/Trump connection, and how much stranger can it get?
RICHARD HAASS: Well, first of all, first of all, Joe, I want to congratulate you for, for making the list. And like Mika and others here I do feel left out. It’s a bit of a mystery.
Look, I think there’s actually — there’s two serious sides of this. One is, we still do not know what is behind the Trump/Putin relationship. It just is, it’s inexplicable on foreign policy terms. Let me just put it that way.
There’s something here, you know, remember Churchill’s old line about the Soviet Union: a mystery wrapped inside a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. That’s how I would describe — there’s something that doesn’t, doesn’t add up.
The other thing is, when you think about Putin’s strategy on Ukraine now, what is it? It’s to play for time.Things have not gone well, to say the least, over the last 16, 17 months. And what he’s hoping is that Ukrainian, or NATO, or American resilience and staying power fades.
Well, right now, if you’re Vladimir Putin, what is your, what is your card in the hole here? It might be the 2024 elections. That he might just be thinking, if I can just hold out through that, there is a chance that U.S. policy will fundamentally change if Donald Trump comes back into the Oval Office.