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Joe Scarborough says Trump ‘would kill journalists if he could get away with it’ like Putin, triggers outrage

The television anchor compared Trump to the Russian president while talking about the infamous '60 Minutes' interview, where the president walked off the set mid-discussion
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough triggered social media outrage on Monday, October 26, after he claimed that President Donald Trump "would kill reporters if he could get away with it." The television anchor compared Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin as he talked about the infamous '60 Minutes' Trump interview, where the president walked off the set mid-discussion. Trump stormed out of the CBS interview nearly 37 minutes into it as he complained that journalist Lesley Stahl was asking "tough questions" from him while his political rival Democratic nominee Joe Biden had been given an easy ride by media outlets.

The 'Morning Joe' host, on Monday, talked about Trump's abrupt exit and said that the US leader "resembles an autocratic leader from eastern Europe". Scarborough, while comparing him to the Russian strongman, said: "Though he kills journalists, Vladimir Putin, on camera, actually seems a little more willing to answer tough questions when they are asked of him. Donald Trump can't even handle that."

"Of course, Donald Trump would kill reporters if he could get away with it," he added. "I think even his strongest supporters would admit Trump would do whatever he could get away with." The television host's statement, however, sparked outrage among Trump supporters on Twitter as some called the comparison "ridiculous." One user wrote: "That sounds like some pretty irresponsible and dangerous leftist rhetoric there, Joe." While another added: "Joe, you are ridiculous! Be more responsible!"



Relations between Trump and Scarborough have worsened ever since the former's presidential win. The Republican, in May, had also repeated a conspiracy theory that ex-Congressman Scarborough's former aide Lori Klausutis's death was "very suspicious." Trump, since May 12, has sent out multiple messages claiming that Scarborough may have killed his former employee Klausutis in 2001. Klausutis died at the age of 28 after she fell and hit her head at an office table in Florida. Her autopsy showed that she had been killed by an undiagnosed heart condition.

Trump, during a White House press conference on May 26, had doubled-down on his claims, suggesting that Klausutis and Scarborough had been having an affair. He also called the woman's death "a very suspicious situation." "A lot of people suggest that. And hopefully, someday people are going to find out," the president claimed during the briefing. Klausutis' husband, Timothy Klausutis, had written a letter to Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey, requesting him to take down President Trump's tweets about his late wife because they were not factually correct. 

The micro-blogging site, however, instead of taking the tweets down, responded to the letter apologizing for the "pain" caused by the president’s tweets. The social media site has consistently permitted the president to break its own anti-bullying and harassment rules, citing that it was in the "public interest" to let a global leader continue to speak freely to the voters. Scarborough's wife, Mika Brzezinski, also denounced the president, calling him a “cruel, sick, disgusting person."

The television host's recent statement about Trump's came after CBS aired the '60 Minutes' interview over the weekend. Trump's annoyance with Stahl during the interview began immediately after she began the interview by asking him: "Are you ready for some tough questions?" The president, mid-interview, brought it up before walking out. He told Stahl: "Excuse me. Lesley you started with your first statement was are you ready for tough questions. That's no way to talk."