Trump son-in-law and White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, once again turns up as the extra ingredient in another Trumpian controversy.
This time, it’s the revelation by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that the White House called Scarborough and threatened him with a negative tabloid in the National Enquirer, unless Scarborough and Brzezinski apologized to Donald Trump for their coverage of him on their show, “Morning Joe.”
Jay Caruso spoke with Scarborough and wrote about the threat earlier Friday.
Now we know who was behind the threats.
New York Magazine ran the story today:
According to three sources familiar with the private conversations, what happened was this: After the inauguration, Morning Joe’s coverage of Trump turned sharply negative. “This presidency is fake and failed,” Brzezinski said on March 6, for example. Around this time, Scarborough and Brzezinski found out the Enquirer was preparing a story about their affair. While Scarborough and Brzezinski’s relationship had been gossiped about in media circles for some time, it was not yet public, and the tabloid was going to report that they had left their spouses to be together.
In mid-April, Scarborough texted with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner about the pending Enquirer story. Kushner told Scarborough that he would need to personally apologize to Trump in exchange for getting Enquirer owner David Pecker to stop the story. (A spokesperson for Kushner declined to comment). Scarborough says he refused, and the Enquirer published the story in print on June 5, headlined “Morning Joe Sleazy Cheating Scandal!”
An important point is made, here. As I saw someone tweet out to Joe Scarborough earlier: You don’t take a scorpion as a pet.
Every news network breathlessly covered Trump throughout the primary, as if he were already the nominee. Scarborough and Brzezinski were no different. Only after Trump won the nomination, and then the election did some of these networks decide Trump was every bit the reprobate that some of us have maintained he was from the beginning.
For most, including Scarborough and Brzezinski, I’m sure all the fawning coverage was for the very same reasons that the Clinton camp were praying for a Trump nomination – they thought he’d be an easy win for Clinton.
They didn’t prepare for the eventuality that their plan would backfire and they’d end up with the nightmare they had plotted for.
For that reason, they don’t get a pass for their own bad behavior. It didn’t just backfire on them. It backfired on the entire nation.
That being said, the idea that Kushner would try to blackmail Scarborough – and make no mistake, this is blackmail – is problematic.
Kushner is in Trump’s ear. He is guiding policy. He was not elected or supported by any segment of voters, and nepotism is not setting well with the presidency.
In fact, no one in the government should be telling reporters how to do their jobs, or threatening media figures who they disagree with.
The Morning Joe co-hosts decided to talk about the episode a day after Trump inaccurately tweeted that Brzezinski attended a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago “bleeding badly from a face-lift.” (A photo from that evening backs up Scarborough and Brzezinski’s denial of this.) While the Enquirer denies that Trump encouraged Pecker to investigate the MSNBC hosts, Trump himself has pushed the story publicly. Last August, he tweeted, “Some day, when things calm down, I’ll tell the real story of @JoeNBC and his very insecure long-time girlfriend, @morningmika. Two clowns!”
This is not the America we should want for our kids, or ourselves.