MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough has officially, and very publicly, parted ways with the Republican Party.
Now, this may not be news, especially for a right-leaning MSNBC host, but Scarborough has a fairly lengthy GOP pedigree. Scarborough once served as a GOP Rep. out of Florida, but he says he’s done with his party after it defended President Donald Trump even after Trump’s repeated tweetstorm against Scarborough and his MJ co-host Mika Brzezinski.
Joe made his announcement in grand fashion on the "Late Show" with Stephen Colbert, announcing he is leaving the party, not to become a Democrat, but to vote as an Independent. Here’s what Scarborough said at the time: “You have to ask yourself, what in fact is the Republican party willing to do? How far are they willing to go? How much of this country and their values are they willing to sell out?”
The rift really isn’t that surprising. Scarborough and Brzezinski, partners in-and-out of the studio, have remained staunchly anti-Trump, even as many in the GOP media, despite misgivings, tacitly support the president. Scarborough has described President Trump as “corrupt, a thug,” and “the greatest liar that’s ever sat in the White House.” Mr. Trump, as is his habit, fired back on Twitter, mocking Joe and Mika in return. Thanks to the tiff with Trump, "Morning Joe" saw a ratings boost that, so far, has stayed fairly consistent after an all-time surge the day after the latest Twitter spat.
Scarborough’s appearance on Colbert’s show, which consisted of the two hosts trading negative comments about Trump and jokes at the president’s expense, may well telegraph’s Joe’s attempt to expand his brand, perhaps defining himself as the maverick in the media willing to take on Trump directly.
It’s an interesting and somewhat well-tested tactic. A media personality beginning to define himself by the president he opposes. It’s been done quite a bit on the right. Rush Limbaugh made a career of mocking the Clintons, and Sean Hannity did the same thing with President Obama.
Will that familiar playbook work on a “legitimate” morning news program, when the host is a right leaning Independent, and his target is a GOP president? Maybe. Sure, it’s worked for liberal comedians like Colbert and Jon Stewart, but will that late night laughter translate well to a morning news program?
So far, the answer is yes. But some are already questioning if Joe and Mika can keep it up when their primary format goes from talking news to mocking Trump. Apparently, we will get to find out.
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.
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