MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough on Wednesday morning applauded Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in the Thursday debate hosted by Fox News, comparing Trump to Ronald Reagan.
“That’s Trump at his very best. He made a lot of great points there,” Scarborough said after playing a clip of Trump’s press conference discussing his decision to pull out of the debate.
During the presser, Trump said it was childish for Fox News to send out a press release mocking Trump’s complaints that Fox host Megyn Kelly treats him unfairly. The news organization released a statement joking that they “learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president.”
Scarborough said Trump’s comments were “stinging because it looked like a childish press release.”
“Fox yesterday made Trump look like the grownup,” he added.
Much of Trump’s boycott has centered around his feud with Kelly, but Scarborough argued that Trump’s refusal to attend the debate was about Fox News as a whole.
“People that say that Trump is afraid to go up against Megyn Kelly missed the entire point,” he said. “You’d have to be stupid, as a candidate you’d have to be stupid to go on the debate stage with a news organization that has been this openly hostile to you — stupid. And Donald Trump is anything but stupid.”
“If they wanted 22 million viewers, they shot themselves in the foot with that press release,” Scarborough added.
The “Morning Joe” co-host also compared Trump’s move to a famous moment in the 1980 Republican presidential primary debates. Ronald Reagan had paid for a debate in Nashua, New Hampshire, with George H.W. Bush after the party refused to pay. When Reagan invited five additional candidates to participate in the debate, the moderator tried to cut off his microphone, to which Reagan declared, “I’m paying for this microphone!”
“History’s repeating itself,” Scarborough said, noting that Reagan objected to the debate rules because they weren’t “fair to the rest of the candidates.”
“It showed strength in a time of weakness,” Scarborough said of Reagan’s move in 1980. “And here we are how many years later?”
“The same thing happens except it’s happening at Fox News,” he added. “Ronald Reagan several years ago said, ‘I paid for this mic.’ Donald Trump says, ‘I pay for your bills with my 22 million viewers.'”
Watch part of Scarborough’s comments via MSNBC: