The hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” said President Donald Trump’s ill-advised defense of Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly betrayed a lack of discipline, trust and leadership in the White House.
The president told a pair of New York Times reporters that that he believed O’Reilly, whose program is hemorrhaging advertisers, had done nothing wrong and should not have settled a series of sexual harassment lawsuits, and he baselessly accused former national security adviser Susan Rice of criminal actions.
Host Joe Scarborough said those comments showed Trump was completely unprepared, and he blamed both the president and his staff.
“You need a chief of staff, somebody you trust, a communication director saying, ‘President Trump, they’re going to be asking you about Bill O’Reilly, probably ask you about what you said about Barack Obama yesterday, they’re going to ask you about Susan Rice, (but) today we’re talking about Syria. All you say, whatever they ask, (is), Listen, those are important issues, but right now we’re all focused on Syria, we’re in the Oval Office trying to figure out how we respond to this heinous attack, and I’m not going to comment,” Scarborough said.
Instead, according to co-host Mika Brzezinski, Trump brought up the lawsuits against O’Reilly on his own.
“I think the president brought it up himself, off the record, in some way,” said Brzezinski, citing comments by one of the Times reporters. “It’s even more blurty than you can imagine. It’s also disgusting. You don’t take sides on a settlement in a sexual harassment case that clearly has some legs — in some way, somewhere — in a network that, I think, is finally going to change its culture and do the right thing. The advertisers are speaking and women are speaking and i think it’s going to work out — but the president shouldn’t have done that.”