Joe Scarborough criticized for calling Trump 'lock him up' chants at World Series 'un-American'

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Joe Scarborough branded the “lock him up” chant directed at President Trump during Sunday’s World Series “un-American” — and social media isn’t happy about it.

Scarborough and his Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski discussed the public treatment of Trump, who’s facing an impeachment inquiry, and it led to the pair trending on social media on Monday. They described themselves as “sickened” by the display with Scarborough deeming it “un-American.” And while they talked extensively about how it is a page from Trump’s own playbook — “lock her up,” referring to Hillary Clinton, has been a rally cry at his events for three years — their criticism has many worked up.

Scarborough and Brzezinski have since addressed the backlash:

It began earlier in the day. “It was sort of startling and sad to hear those chants of ‘lock him up’ yesterday from the crowd,” Brzezinski said at the top of Morning Joe. “I didn’t take pleasure in that.”

Scarborough chimed in, “It really was. There were many traditions brought about by Donald Trump and his supporters and people around him that are un-American. Even fascist-like. The chants of ‘lock her up,’ ‘send her back.’ But the ‘lock her up’ about Hillary Clinton repeatedly, it has become a centerpiece, and that's what dictators do. They take over, and then they start talking about imprisoning others. So that's what unfortunately has been fed into America's political system through Donald Trump, and last night it was turned against him... I hope that Donald Trump, after seeing that he could be facing this throughout his entire campaign, will cut it out.”

However, Scarborough went on to scold the crowd.

“It's un-American,” he continued. “And the people in the stands that were doing it last night shouldn't have done it... That's why everybody has to tone it down. Stop with the chants. Stop with the fascist-like tactics and the rhetoric. It's just un-American. And it's just not right.”

When Brzezinski said it was “sickening” to hear it at Trump’s rallies, Scarborough agreed.

“Of course it’s sickening,” he said. “We are Americans and we do not do that. We do not want the world hearing us chant, ‘lock him up,’ to this president, or to any president. That's what I'm saying.”

And while they weren’t defending the president — Brzezinski saying at one point “he created it” — the fact that Scarborough criticized the crowd had many up in arms. One person wrote, “Ah I see Joe and Mika have decided to hold a stadium full of baseball fans to a higher standard than the President of the United States.” Others pointed out that Trump is routinely on the attack — at rallies, on social media — yet “Joe and Mika are worried he was booed in public.” Alyssa Milano also criticized Scarborough saying he “missed the point.”

And while there was clearly a lot of blowback over Scarborough’s comments, some people agreed with his general sentiment.

Before the fourth inning of Sunday’s game, Trump was greeted by the Nationals’ public address announcer and shown on the stadium’s video screen. The crowd responded by booing the president, who was accompanied by Melania Trump, and chanting “lock him up.” Later in the game, there was an “Impeach Trump” banner was hung by fans, which was confiscated.

Trump embraced the “lock her up” chant at his political rallies over the summer of 2016. (Here’s a history of it.) Now, as he faces an impeachment investigation, the cry has been repurposed for him. When Clinton appeared on Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this month, Trump’s Ukraine dealings came up and the audience began chanting “lock him up” after Colbert first said it.

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