A couple of weeks ago I posted on a hot mike recording that showed Donald Trump negotiating, off air, with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski over the questions that he’d be asked on air.
In the clip, host Mika Brzezinski can be heard talking about which questions she should ask Trump. It’s not clear from the audio to whom she is directing her question.
“You don’t want me to do the ones—with deportation?” Brzezinski said.
After some cross-talk, co-host Joe Scarborough said, “We really have to get you some questions.”
“That’s right, nothing too hard Mika,” Trump interjected.
“Okay,” Brzezinski said.
(If you are interested in all the collusion between Joe Scarborough and Donald Trump, check out our coverage)
Now someone has given Gawker, presumably for a hefty sum, voice mails they hacked from Donald Trump’s phone. They show a very cozy relationship between Trump and various MSNBC on air personalities.
…As Cruz has put it, Trump has “New York values.”
These voicemails buttress that argument. They indicate that Trump maintains friendly personal relations with members of the elite political press, even as he demonizes them. While Trump and some of his journalistic interrogators play oppositional roles on the public stage, the voicemails suggest that they are in fact favor-trading pals when the cameras are off.
Though we could not determine the exact dates of the messages, several of them make references to the events of the 2012 presidential campaign season, including those left by a woman who identifies herself as “T Hall,” apparently MSNBC’s Tamron Hall. In one message, Hall says “I’m on my way to Kentucky to cover the vice presidential debate,” a likely reference to the 2012 debate between Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate at the time. Hall covered that debate from Kentucky for MSNBC.
In one of the voice messages, she tells Trump that she was “happy I took your advice” and met with someone named “Matt.” The meeting went well, she says: “I celebrated by going to Gucci, and I’m going to use your discount, because there’s a green dress that’s like $3,000, and I need a discount bigger than the one—my discount.”
And then there are our good friends Joe and Mika:
Voices belonging Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the co-hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, also appear in one message, the date of which is not clear. The message suggests that Trump has contributed to some sort of public or private charity event involving children.
BRZEZINSKI: Hi, Donald. It’s Mika and Joe calling. Say hi, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey there, Donald. How you doing?
BRZEZINSKI: We’re just leaving you a message because we’re trying to get in touch with you, but you must be, like, on your jet or something. We’d love to talk to you, so call one of us. What’s your other number, Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: I’m at [REDACTED]. And the kids want to scream “Thank you,” to you, Donald. Say, “Thank you, Donald.”
CHILDREN: Thank you!
SCARBOROUGH: We are so, so grateful for everything, Donald, and we just want to call you and tell you how much it means to us.
BRZEZINSKI: It was amazing. Thank you, Donald. Hope to talk to you soon. Bye.
Scarborough tries to play cute, like Gawker is making a scandal of Trump giving to a children’s charity
But, oddly enough, Gawker sums up the issue exactly right:
Trump consistently paints himself as an antagonist to the entire news media. His campaign has ejected several journalists from Trump events, has said that most members of the media are “absolute dishonest, absolute scum,” and has pledged to “open up our libel laws” to make it easier to sue reporters.
Employees of MSNBC, the closest thing the American left has to a counterpart to Fox News, would seem like his natural enemies. But on the recordings, Hall, Scarborough, and Brzezinski are casual, chatty, even deferential to Trump. More than anything, they genuinely sound like his friends.
This underscores the structural contradiction that is Trump’s campaign. He is the consummate insider. He was born on the inside. He was educated on the inside. All of his friends are insiders. He’s uses the force of the government to get his way. He has no problem fleecing people outside his social circle (that would be virtually anyone he meets). And yet, he’s managed to convince a plurality of the GOP that he is the outsider, the change agent, the guy who will fix what is broke, when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.