MSNBC's Joe Scarborough pressed Republican lawmakers and conservative media to take seriously President Donald Trump blurting out classified intelligence to Russia officials.
The "Morning Joe" host ended an extraordinary opening segment that ran nearly 30 minutes without a commercial break Tuesday morning with a challenge to conservatives to hold the president accountable for his careless breach of national security.
"It's not enough for (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell and conservative talk show hosts to simply attack the 'lamestream' media or (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi," Scarborough said. "Americans will not buy that. That's a cowardly act, and it's intended to hold onto as much of the audience that they can hold onto without embracing Trump."
"At this point, if you do not call him out for risking American lives and doing things that most intel people I spoke with last night said will lead to the death of Americans in the future or lead to the death of critical allies in this counterinsurgency battle against ISIS, then you are doing a grave disservice to your voters or to your listeners or to the United States of America," Scarborough added. "There is no middle ground here anymore -- there just isn't. This is about national security in the United States of America."
He turned to panelist David Ignatius and asked the Washington Post columnist to explain to viewers why Trump's revelation might be the most dangerous thing he's done yet.
"These are the secrets that keep us alive," Ignatius said.
Ignatius said presidents are trusted with the world's most secret information, and they simply must be careful with that highly sensitive information.
"We're watching an inexperienced, undisciplined person deal with this very sensitive material," Ignatius said. "This is why we have talking points, why presidents have protocols for what they say and don't say when they meet with foreign leaders."
He urged the president to learn from this experience and treat sensitive national security information with more care, but Scarborough argued his actions may indicate a more serious -- and insurmountable -- problem.
"Here's the problem, the arc of this narrative keeps getting worse," Scarborough said. "People on the inside say he keeps getting worse, mentally keeps getting worse. This is not, unfortunately, a learning curve -- this is a man in decline."