Morning Joe climbs back on the train to defend Trump’s unhinged election ‘suspense’ threat
Mika Brezinski and Joe Scarborough (MSNBC)

Donald Trump drew widespread disgust and condemnation after threatening that he might not accept the results of the election if he loses -- but Joe Scarborough downplayed those concerns.

The host of "Morning Joe" said Trump's critics had overreacted to his threat to keep Americans "in suspense" over the election, saying the Republican presidential candidate had only refused to concede three weeks before Election Day.

"He actually said, 'I'll look at it at the time,'" Scarborough said. "I'll see."

Scarborough said any candidate would wait to concede if there were evidence of voting irregularities, and he offered his own hypothetical answer to debate moderator Chris Wallace's question about accepting the peaceful transfer of power.

"I'd say, 'Yeah, certainly I'll look -- I'll certainly respect the outcome of the election, I'll of course want to make sure it's fair,'" Scarborough said. "I will want to make sure it's fair, on the up-and-up."

Panelist Mike Barnicle reminded Scarborough that Trump didn't say that -- but the MSNBC host said the response to his comments had been overheated.

"This is an example, the media gets something they can absolutely freak out about and claim that he's an agent of Vladimir Putin and destroying democracy in America, and it's just another example of the media having to find a little phrase and freak out," Scarborough said.

Barnicle said the GOP nominee had been pushing claims of election rigging for a couple of weeks, since his poll numbers tanked in the wake of a hot mic recording that caught Trump boasting about getting away with sexual assault.

"As a Republican, I have listened to Democrats talk about the only two times we won the White House in, like, 800 years, that we stole both elections," Scarborough said. "I had to sit through 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' and a lady was sobbing violently behind me on the Upper West Side about the election being stolen by George Bush, and I patted her halfway through, and I go, 'It's all right, ma'am. It's all right. It's all a lie, anyway.'"

"Democrats have been whining for 16 years, they're still writing articles about how Bush stole the elections in 2000 and 2004, so this holier-than-thou attitude, about how this is the first time anyone has suggested that the election is not a sacrosanct process -- it's a joke," Scarborough continued. "You guys bathe in that hypocrisy if you want to, I'd just like to hear how the debate went."