Joe Scarborough Says Media Must Learn From Trump Era to ‘Call a Fascist a Fascist’

The MSNBC host reflected on lessons from the Trump era in a new interview with John Heilemann

In an interview out Tuesday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough reflected on the media’s role in outgoing president Donald Trump’s 2016 election and on its role in the post-Trump era.

“I really hope over the next few years, we get to a point where commentators, columnists and historians can call a fascist a fascist,” Scarborough told John Heilemann, co-founder and executive editor of The Recount, on the latest episode of “Hell & High Water with John Heilemann.”

According to Scarborough, the lame-duck president is “the definition of fascist,” as well as “a right wing nationalist who talks about a battle against the others, a guy who would tell Black members of Congress to go home, to go back where they’re from.”

The former Republican congressman said that when it comes to his friends, many of whom are Republicans, he’s still “trying to figure out how they voted for a fascist” over a month after Trump lost the election to Joe Biden.

Millions of people — not just Scarborough’s friends — voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, but the MSNBC host didn’t just place the blame on them. While he discussed his hopes for the media in a post-Trump administration and advised his peers not to “respond to his madness,” he also reflected on the role he and others in the media played in the 2016 election.

“Here’s where I think I made the biggest mistake, and I don’t know if [“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski] feels this way or not,” Scarborough said. :I think our obsession on Hillary Clinton and the emails, given everything that’s happened over the past four years, looks ridiculous. If you had asked me in 2017, ‘Should the New York Times, Washington Post, everybody, follow those emails?’ I’d have said yes.”

Now, he said, “given everything that Donald Trump and his administration has done, that’s absolutely nothing.”

Going forward, Scarborough told Heilemann that he and Brzezinski will be showing fewer clips of Trump and will instead be talking more about Biden.