‘Morning Joe’ Host Accuses Senators of Lying to Defend Trump

Has 'Morning Joe's' attacks on Donald Trump helped MSNBC's ratings?

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US President Donald Trump NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Here we go again.

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough kicked off his Tuesday show by taking aim at Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) over their support of Donald Trump and his alleged comments about “shithole countries.”

But Scarborough didn’t just criticize the senators, he accused them of outright lying in order to defend Trump.

“Tom Cotton heard the vulgarity. David Perdue heard the vulgarity. They lied on Sunday morning. The lied to the American people. They lied to their constituents in Georgia and Arkansas. They lied to cover the president’s racist remarks,” Scarborough said. “They were lying to their constituents, they were lying to the American people, they were lying to the press all to cover up the fact that the President of the United States is a bigot.”

On Sunday morning, Cotton and Perdue both said that Trump did not describe several African countries, as well as Haiti, as has been reported. They also denounced Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and his promotion of the story as false.

“I didn’t hear it, and I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was,” Cotton said on Face the Nation Sunday. “And I know what Dick Durbin has said about the president’s repeated statements is incorrect.”

However, there is some speculation as to whether Cotton and Perdue are using a loophole to deny the accusations. Some have reported that Trump may have said “shithouse” instead of “shithole,” leading to the confusion.

John Heilemann, a regular Morning Joe guest, did not believe that improved the nature of the comments at all.

“The notion that there’s someone in that White House, someone in the president’s orbit, someone in these senator’s orbit, who thinks somehow turning it from ‘shithole’ to ‘shithouse’ somehow makes it better,” he said amid repeated laugheter. “Who could think that would make it better or that somehow is a better context?”

MSNBC finished 2017 as the biggest gainer in terms of total viewers year-over-year. The network rose 50 percent in primetime total viewers, earning the No. 9 most-watched slot in all of television and No. 5 in cable, per Nielsen data. The jump up the ranks marked MSNBC’s biggest win ever over CNN, which finished No. 22 overall.

‘Morning Joe’ Host Accuses Senators of Lying to Defend Trump