Scarborough's co-host, Mika Brzezinski, cast her eyes downward and said, “Please. Stop, Joe.” But the scene continued.
“He's threatening our democracy if he does exactly what she's doing,” Scarborough said, once he had composed himself. “He said, 'I'm holding open my options and all legal rights to challenge anything.' I mean they're going to try — they're going to try to move this around. But you take what Donald Trump said, all he did was leave open the option to do exactly what Hillary Clinton is doing.”
That's not really all Trump did. The president-elect did say this on Oct. 20 in Ohio: “Of course I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.”
But Trump also said this on Aug. 1 in the same state: “We'd better be careful because that election is going to be rigged. People are going to walk in, and they're going to vote 10 times, maybe, who knows?”
Trump did not merely reserve the right to request a recount in the event of a close election. Over and over, he made wild predictions about widespread, systemic voter fraud in an effort to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the result.
“We have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us,” Trump told supporters in Pennsylvania on Oct. 11.
Clinton's involvement in a recount effort led by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein might be poor sportsmanship, but saying after an election that the tally should be double-checked is not the same as saying before Election Day that opposing forces will conspire to rig the result.
Even as Clinton joined the recount, campaign lawyer Marc Elias wrote in a Medium post Saturday that the campaign has “not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.” Elias said the Clinton campaign would not have requested a recount but, since one is happening in Wisconsin (and possibly Michigan and Pennsylvania) anyway, “it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented.”
Meanwhile, Trump — even though he won — tweeted without evidence on Sunday that “millions” of people voted illegally and that there was “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.”
Despite these differences, Scarborough presented Trump's and Clinton's actions as equivalent and attacked the media for not treating them the same.
SCARBOROUGH: Is democracy threatened, or is this actually what people do? This is what people do in elections. Hillary's doing what people do.BRZEZINSKI: Shhh. Joe, shhh.SCARBOROUGH: But when Trump even suggested it, well, democracy was at risk for saying, 'I'm going to leave open my options.' This is what — by the way, this is why you're all going out of business.BRZEZINSKI: Okay, joining us …SCARBOROUGH: You still — you still don't get it. You're still being hypocritical. You get it wrong, like, in the primary. That's fine. You get it wrong in the general election. But you keep getting it wrong.