Morning Joe: 'Thuggish Trump' Responsible For Reporter Assault

"The fish, again, rots from the head."

MSNBC’s still-Republican — but reconsidering — Joe Scarborough blamed “thuggish” Donald Trump for Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte “body slamming” a Guardian reporter after the journalist asked him a question the day before a special election to fill a U.S. House seat. Gianforte, a Republican, won the election late Thursday.

Scarborough said Thursday on “Morning Joe” that the president has essentially encouraged an open season on journalists with his incredibly rude, relentless attacks on the press, and “irresponsibly” fueling anger against reporters in large crowds.

When you see the president calling the press “enemies of the people several times” and “who repeatedly verbally abused reporters, recklessly and irresponsibly in large arenas calling out people’s names ... What do we expect?” Scarborough said, adding that people are “clueless” if they think “the thuggish behavior from the president of the United States does not have an impact on people who are trying to emulate him.”

Scarborough insisted Trump isn’t only “thuggish” toward reporters but also toward the First Amendment, toward the courts and to “anyone who dares to challenge his ultimate authority.”

“The fish rots, again, from the head,” Scarborough said. “At what point do Republicans start criticizing Donald Trump for attacking federal judges? At what point do Republicans start criticizing Donald Trump for using a Stalinist trick, calling the press enemies of the people?”