Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) loss in a Republican primary this week caught most political observers off guard, but Joe Scarborough saw the warning signs long before the upset.
The MSNBC host chastised the freshly ousted House majority leader again on Thursday for losing touch with his Virginia constituents.
Cantor insisted during a post-defeat press conference on Wednesday that he had visited the commonwealth’s 7th congressional district frequently, but Scarborough said the evidence says otherwise. After all, didn’t Cantor’s campaign drop more money at steakhouses than tea party challenger Dave Brat spent on the entire race?
“I would suggest any political candidate that spends more money at Washington, D.C. steakhouses than his opponent spends in an entire campaign would probably meet the definition of disconnected in most districts across America,” Scarborough said. “He was disconnected! He had become a creature of Washington, D.C.”
Scarborough said he saw first-hand just how detached Cantor had become with the common folk when the congressman paid the “Morning Joe” crew a visit.
“We don’t judge him one way or the other and we don’t know, perhaps he got death threats. But he showed up on our set — didn’t he show up with a security entourage larger than most governors?” Scarborough asked his co-host Mika Brzezinski.
Brzezinski confirmed the size of Cantor’s security entourage.
Scarborough said he actually wasn’t going to bring it up until New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters, a panelist on Thursday’s edition of “Morning Joe,” had cited it as an example of Cantor alienating voters back home.
“He had like three security guys, I think,” Scarborough recalled. “We were talking about this off-set yesterday and weren’t going to say it, but Jeremy brought it up and we looked at him when he came in, and I like Eric a lot, but saw the security people there and sort of the sense of importance. And it was fine with us, we didn’t even say anything at the time. But if you’re going around your district acting that way? Not good.”
Scarborough made the same point about Cantor on Wednesday, the day after Brat’s stunning victory in the primary.
“Sometimes, guys like Eric Cantor are just radically out of touch with their district in ways that have nothing to do with politics,” Scarborough observed.