Morning Joe panel agrees: Presidency has ‘twisted’ Trump — and they’re ‘truly terrified’ of what’s next
Joe Scarborough and Donny Deutsch (MSNBC)

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Donny Deutsch have known President Donald Trump for years, and they agreed he barely resembled the outsize character they remembered.

Former first lady Michelle Obama said at the 2016 Democratic National Convention that "being president doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are" -- and Scarborough and Deutsch were alarmed at what they saw in their former friend.

"I always said he was not necessarily the type of guy I would want to be in a foxhole with, but I always felt that he was in on the joke, very sharp," Deutsch said. "Kind of a lounge act, and he was playing -- his eyes were twinkling, like a Howard Stern."

"Howard knows what he's doing, and he's a different guy and I always felt, you know what? It was something charming," Deutsch added. "Like I said, wouldn't want to be in a foxhole with him, you had to check your pockets when he left. I'm not saying he's the most moral high ground, but nothing as far as the twisted, in many cases, cruel and evil and also kind of unhinged as we're seeing now, and what scares me and this week more than ever you felt something shift. You really felt the noose tightening."

Deutsch then doubled down on his comments from earlier in Friday's "Morning Joe," and warned Trump could launch a nuclear war to distract from the special counsel probe that's reaching deeper into the White House.

"I am truly terrified of what he is capable of doing," Deutsch said. "I know this is insane, but nothing short of starting a war to protect his hide and we have to start to look at this latest tariff situation this clearly cost a lot of people a lot of money but not lives, what is this man cornered, dangerous, unhinged now, a very different man than 20 years ago -- what is he capable of doing?"

Scarborough agreed there had been warning signs, such as his bizarre hatred for Rosie O'Donnell, and he admitted he never considered voting for Trump -- but he said his presidency had been even more "unmoored" than he could have imagined.

"Yes, he could be cruel publicly, he could be unkind, but the level of chaos, I think, has far exceeded a lot of people's expectations, and the problem now is, again, what Donny said, cornered," Scarborough said. "Donald Trump is proving to be a very dangerous person, a very dangerous person for his own White House, a very dangerous person for people who are investing in the stock market and a very dangerous person for those of us who care about U.S. interests globally."