Rough Reviews for MSNBC’s Donald Trump Town Hall

By Mark Joyella 

There’s been no shortage of commentary in recent days about the at times cozy relationship between Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Wednesday night, Scarborough and his morning co-host Mika Brzezinski moderated a town hall meeting with Trump, part of a series of candidate conversations set to air on MSNBC. Only this one, however, was colored by the reports of discomfort at the network over the extent of Scarborough’s relationship with Trump.

“No doubt conscious of public scrutiny of their alleged coziness with Trump—especially from media reporters at rival CNN—Scarborough and Brzezinski opened the show by telling Trump what a lousy job he did in last Saturday’s mudslinging CBS debate,” writes The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove. The candidate, however, was hardly rattled by any of the questions.


“It was well nigh impossible to knock Trump off his talking points,” said Grove.

Slate’s Isaac Chotiner suggests the problem isn’t Trump, but the kind of coverage the phenomenon of Trump has gotten from the start of his unique campaign. “Scarborough began the evening by noting that he and his co-host were prepared to debrief Trump and ask him important questions; instead, the questions were mild, and the follow-ups nonexistent. It remains shocking that after months of bigoted comments and almost pathological dishonesty, Trump still lands these types of interviews.”

At The Washington Post, Erik Wemple agreed that Trump has gotten a free ride for too long, calling it a “journalistic shortfall” that the Scarborough-Brzezinski town hall failed to hold Trump accountable for his “shameful record of racism, bigotry and rampant disrespect… Any hourlong session with Donald Trump that doesn’t ask him about those obscenities is a puff session.”