“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, announced Tuesday that he plans to leave the GOP to become an independent.
“I am a Republican, but I’m not going to be a Republican anymore. I’ve got to become an independent,” Scarborough said on CBS’ “The Late Show.”
Scarborough blasted the GOP’s complacency for its reluctance to challenge President Trump. The “Morning Joe” host announced the news in a Tuesday night “Late Show” appearance with his co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
On “Morning Joe” Wednesday, the conservative pundit elaborated on his decision to leave the GOP, noting, “I think a lot of Republicans are feeling the same way.”
“You apologize for your party for so long, and you hope that Republicans, when they get into power … [are] going to do the things that they promised to do,” Scarborough said on “Morning Joe.”
Scarborough had a warm relationship at times with Trump during the campaign, and Trump once even praised the two “Morning Joe” hosts as “supporters.” But Trump, an avid watcher of morning shows on cable news, has bristled at their coverage of his administration and lashed out at Scarborough and Brzezinski in particular.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore),” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
The two hosts responded in a Washington Post op-ed. “Donald Trump is not well,” they wrote.
Scarborough said Wednesday that he had wanted Republican lawmakers, upon their return to power, to balance the federal budget and reform Medicare, Social Security and the education system. But he said they failed to do that.
“They’re kowtowing to somebody who … inexplicably shows them no loyalty whatsoever. I just — I don’t know how people continue to be supportive of this president or this party until they return to first principles,” Scarborough concluded.
The longtime Republican also said on CBS that he believed the GOP had “betrayed [its] core values” long before the election of Trump.
Scarborough cited Trump’s support for a Muslim ban during the campaign, stating that he could not vote for someone who banned people “because of the god that they worshipped.” He also pointed to Trump initially declining to rebuke support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
“And you have to ask yourself, what exactly is the Republican party willing to do? How far are they willing to go? How much of this country and our values are they willing to sell out?” Scarborough said on CBS.
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