‘Morning Joe’ Panel Can’t Figure Out Why False Ad Bothers The Trump Campaign

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts were befuddled Thursday as to why a false ad about President Donald Trump’s reaction to the novel coronavirus bothers the Trump campaign.

Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski aired liberal super-PAC Priorities USA’s anti-Trump advertisement multiple times in a row as they tried to figure out why the Trump campaign was vexed.

The ad selectively edits the president’s statement about the novel coronavirus over the past few weeks and includes a debunked claim that Trump called the novel coronavirus a “hoax.” Trump’s edited words are playing as a graph shows the increased number of deaths from the virus in America.

“Okay, I’m looking at that ad, and I’m looking at these quotes that I got, I think, from a ‘New York Times’ article and a ‘Washington Post’ and ‘Wall Street journal’ articles about what the president said, and it sounds like all that ad’s doing is actually quoting him,” Scarborough said. “Maybe I missed something. Could you guys play that again? Maybe I missed something.”


“Okay,” Scarborough said after the ad played a second time. “I’m matching up, it’s the lawyer in me I guess, but I’m matching up the quotes that I pulled this morning and the quotes I’m seeing on the ad.” (RELATED: More Americans Approve Of Trump’s Coronavirus Response Than The Media’s)

Brzezinski agreed with the timeline and suggested that “if anything, they’re missing a few.” Scarborough then asked the network to play the ad for a third time in a row to “make sure” he wasn’t “missing something.”

“I actually — you know, the one thing I saw that was inaccurate is that they actually undersold in that ad how many people are dying,” Scarborough said as he continued to be confused. “It’s because they did it a couple of days ago and a lot more people have died in the past couple of days. The number is going up exponentially.”

Scarborough went through a timeline of what the president said and then invited Priorities USA chairman Guy Cecil to speak about why the Trump campaign might be irritated by the ad. Cecil was also befuddled.

Neither the MSNBC guest or the co-hosts mentioned that the advertisement is deceptively edited to include a debunked claim about Trump calling the coronavirus a “hoax.”

“I’m just curious, I’m looking through the notes that I’ve gathered from the president’s public statements and the notes that you’re running on that ad, and I’ve got to tell you, there’s not a legal case here,” Scarborough said. “I don’t even know what they’re complaining about. You used the president’s own words. What’s their legal argument?”

Cecil said that the Trump campaign has “no real argument” and that the president is concerned because the ad “tells the truth.”

“PUSA’s advertisement is false, misleading, and deceptive, and we formally demand that your station refuse to continue airing it to meet your responsibilities not to broadcast false information,” a cease and desist letter sent to the stations airing the ad from Trump campaign attorney Alex Cannon reads.

“Should you fail to immediately cease broadcasting PUSA’s ad ‘Exponential Threat,’ Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. will have no choice but to pursue all legal remedies available to it in law and in equity; we will not stand idly by and allow you to broadcast false, deceptive, and misleading information concerning President’s Trump’s healthcare positions without consequence.”