During a broadcast on the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough argued that the current political climate could cause more irreparable harm to the nation’s fabric than the coordinated hijackings that led to nearly 3,000 deaths in 2001.
As CNS News reported, the “Morning Joe” host offered a monologue in which he said the tragic events of 9/11 had the net effect of bringing Americans together.
The policies of the Trump administration, on the other hand, are driving people apart, he said.
“America is an idea,” he said. “And if you strip America of its ideas, forget about knocking down buildings in the financial district, forget about running planes into the Pentagon. Those are tragedies, but those tragedies bring us closer together.”
In order to “do the most harm to America,” Scarborough said a force would have to attack those uniquely American ideals.
“Across the world, you have people looking at a country that is saying they want to ban people from coming to America because of their religion,” he said. “You have, just this week, Brett Kavanaugh, who wants to be on the Supreme Court, refusing to answer whether people should be banned from coming to the United States because of their race, in his reading of the Constitution.”
Scarborough claimed that a relentless assault on long-held American values has taken a toll on the nation that could have permanent and global implications.
“The accumulation of that: the retweeting of neo-Nazi videos, Charlottesville, I mean I could go on and on,” he said. “What he said about majority black countries. That is tearing more at the fabric of America than the attacks on the Twin Towers did.”
He said Americans joined forces after that terror attack in a way he does not see happening in today’s political climate.
“We rebuilt from that,” he said of the 9/11 attacks. “We became stronger because of that. But this seems, to me, a far greater threat to the idea of America.”
Scarborough’s comments on MSNBC came after a column he wrote for The Washington Post this week in which he opined that the president is “harming the dream of America more than any adversary every could.”
My Latest—> Trump is damaging the dream of America more than any terrorist attack ever could. https://t.co/DEnYurEFmW
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) September 11, 2018
After citing economic and military concerns Scarborough believes have contributed to the problem, he pinpointed what he has found particularly disheartening in the era of Trump.
“For those of us still believing that Islamic extremists hate America because of the freedoms we guarantee to all people, the gravest threat Trump poses to our national security is the damage done daily to America’s image,” Scarborough wrote.
In the piece, he cited the source of a phrase he repeated in his televised comments Tuesday morning.
“As the New York Times’s Roger Cohen wrote the month after Trump’s election, ‘America is an idea. Strip freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law from what the United States represents to the world and America itself is gutted.'”
UPDATE: After facing significant backlash from the left and the right regarding his comments, Scarborough walked them back — to a degree — on Twitter:
“Many have been offended by a tweet I sent out earlier re: my @washingtonpost article,” Scarborough wrote in a series of tweets. “Even if they did not read the article, I should have shown more care on the tweet’s wording and the column’s conclusion. The column was focused on 17 years of strategic missteps. The last paragraph became the sole focus of Trump supporters. On every other day of the year, I do not shy away from negative feedback from the right, the left or from Trump supporters… On September 11th, I’ll read the column again and think about whether I could have said the same thing in a way less offensive to Trump supporters on September 11th.”
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