The media’s patience with Donald Trump is clearly running out.
Fed up with the Republican front-runner’s attempts to commandeer an interview for his own talking points, MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough simply dumped Trump and went to commercial break Tuesday.
This followed a Monday-night declaration by Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington that “we are no longer entertained” by Trump’s candidacy. She suggested HuffPo will toughen its coverage of the real estate mogul going forward.
Scarborough was trying to ask Trump about his call Monday for a moratorium on Muslim immigrants but seemed to feel that his guest, speaking by phone, was filibustering and not really addressing the questions.
“All right, Donald. Donald, Donald, Donald, Donald. You’re not going to keep talking,” an exasperated Scarborough interjected. “We will go to break if you keep talking. We’re going to ask you questions.”
Trump kept talking, and Scarborough kept his word.
“All right, go to break. Go to break, go to break, go to break right now,” he said. “We’ll be right back with more ‘Morning Joe.’”
Then, the most amazing thing happened: The show returned from its impromptu break, and Trump was still on the line! Scarborough totally showed him up on live television and, instead of storming off, Trump hung in there. In fact, he stayed on for another 10 minutes, taking — and more or less actually answering — questions from Scarborough and his panel, which included The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson.
Also Tuesday morning, CNN's Chris Cuomo was overtly argumentative with Trump during an interview on the same subject. And there was this sharp commentary by NBC's chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel.
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) December 8, 2015
The lesson for the press is that this might be the most effective way of dealing with Trump. He seems to respect — and actually respond to — a level of pushback that journalists would generally consider overly assertive or even rude.