MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough joined me today:
HH: To begin the hour, though, I’m joined by Joe Scarborough, host of Morning Joe on MSNBC. I’m on Don Lemon tonight, I’m on Charlie Rose tonight, so I had to call up Joe, because that’s the Tinkers to Evers to Chance of New York-Manhattan media. Hello, Joe, how are you?
JS: Wow, aren’t you something?
JS: You’re, as my grandma would say, you’re in high cotton, baby. You’re in high cotton.
HH: (laughing) All right, now I have a high cotton question for you. This is a serious question.
HH: I tell people I really believe if Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, your phone, Joe Scarborough, is going to ring, and he’s going to offer you the vice presidential nomination. Will you accept it?
JS: (laughing) Oh, I’ll take a weekend at Mar-A-Lago.
HH: But really…
JS: So I don’t know where you get that from?
HH: If he asks you, because it makes sense to me, it makes sense to me on a lot of different levels.
JS: Why does that make sense to you?
HH: He needs Florida. He needs someone who is media savvy. He needs someone that he gets along with relatively well and understands media. So if he asks, would you say yes?
JS: I mean, first of all, I mean, Donald Trump has, I think we all know, has about as much media savvy as anybody that’s been in politics for a long time. You always get me in trouble with questions like this, Hugh.
HH: But no, it’s not, it’s a fair question. I’m just asking…
JS: Nobody’s going to ask me to do anything but, like, take them to softball practice and baseball practice.
HH: If he did ask you, it’s just a hypo…it’s just an if. If he asked you, would you say yes?
JS: I don’t know. I don’t think he would ask me.
HH: I know.
JS: Trump, you know, again, you always get me in trouble with these questions. So let’s move on.
HH: No, Joe, pause with me for a second. It makes perfect sense. You’re not the first person I’ve told this to. I have told a number of people Trump will ask Scarborough to be his running mate for a whole variety of reasons, especially Florida. And you’re not a stranger to Virginia, and you know your way around politics. So just, really, would you say yes?
JS: Oh, you know, I will say this, and I’ve said this on the air, and so this is not really any secret at all. I’ll do anything that will get, will stop us from eight more years like the past eight years we’ve had.
HH: Amen. And so if that included saying yes, you’d say yes?
JS: I mean, I think I’d put myself in your category. I would do just about anything to try to get the White House back.
HH: All right, that’s a yes. I mean, that’s a yes, Joe.
JS: No, it’s not a yes. You tried this before with, I think, Senator here or Senator there, but anyway…
HH: I have. You know, I’m always trying to get Joe Scarborough out of…
JS: You’re telling me this is why I walked away from dinner with my kids, to not answer this question?
HH: You did answer. You’d say yes. That was not Shermanesque. I heard a yes there, and people will be writing about it tomorrow, and they’ll start to think about it. And when it happens, in Cleveland, if Trump is the nominee and Scarborough’s the VP, they will look back and say Hewitt called that in January.
JS: You’re a very funny guy. I will say this, though. In January, you talked about media savvy. Can we just stop for one second and really think about how Donald Trump, like Ronald Reagan, has feasted on the political bones and economic bones of everybody who has ever underestimated him. And this latest move on Fox is about the most brilliant tactical move. I think, again, he always is three steps ahead of everybody else. We were talking to Lindsey Graham a couple of weeks ago. We went to the Kemp Forum. Paul Ryan asked me to go down and moderate and interview him, and we were talking to Lindsey down there in South Carolina. And Lindsey said, you know, I’ve got some issues with Donald Trump, but he’s the smartest guy I’ve ever seen in my political life, where every week, he is three steps ahead of us, and he figures out how to get the media to follow him. And he goes, he just walks around answering questions about Donald Trump.
HH: And I talked to Charlie, I’ve already taped a segment for Charlie Rose tonight. I’ve worked for developers my entire life as a lawyer. They make bold, big bets, and they pay off or they blow up. And he made a big, bold bet on Thursday night, which I think is going to pay off. I think he’s going to go up in the polls, and that he is going to get a lot of coverage, and they’re not going to beat up on him. They won’t be able to do it, because the Fox people have to pretend that it’s a debate without him, right? They can’t just…
JS: Well, not only that. The only thing that matters right now, they know they can’t beat him in New Hampshire in South Carolina. The only thing that matters right now is who’s leading the establishment lane. And it’s surreal this guy’s ahead by 20 points in just about every state, and everybody’s beating up everybody. Jeb’s beating up Marco. Marco’s beating up Ted. Ted’s beating up Marco. Huckabee and Santorum are now going after Cruz. It is a circular firing squad for second place, while the guy that is really possibly five or six days from locking the nomination with a win in Iowa, because if you don’t stop him in Iowa, it’s over. He’s not being touched by anybody.
HH: I don’t agree with that, but I do believe that it become a very prohibitively in his favor, as it is prohibitively in favor of Hillary Clinton. But stuff happens, right? Stuff happens in campaigns.
JS: Well, stuff happens. The only thing is, what could happen to Trump that hasn’t already happened, and he blows through it? I mean, this is, again, Iowa is his weakest state. He’s up by 20 in New Hampshire. He’s going to be, I remember Donald telling me a year ago that he was going to South Carolina and 2,000 people were showing up at events, and I called down all my contacts and friends in South Carolina, and they were. South Carolina, I mean, Manhattan is not Trump’s home territory. South Carolina is Trump’s home territory. And knowing all my friends and relatives, you know, I’ve live in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida. That’s where I spent about 45 years of my 52 years. And they’re crazier for Trump in the SCC primaries than anywhere else.
HH: And you just, Mr. Vice President…
JS: He’s going to…
HH: Mr. Vice President, you just made my argument for me, Mr. Vice President.
JS: What’s that?
HH: That you’ve spent your life in the SCC where Donald has not. And so it’s the perfect pairing.
JS: Donald doesn’t, hey, Donald is probably going to win Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi by 30 points. He doesn’t need me.
HH: Florida is a problem for every Republican. You know that, Joe.
HH: That is our, that’s our, Florida and Colorado, and we need Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Ohio.
HH: And can Trump beat Hillary in those four states? Why?
JS: Yeah, I think Donald Trump actually changes, and you and I are not going to like the reason why Trump changes the dynamics, but Trump, after he wins the Republican nomination, is going to move to the center. And he’s already talking about how he thinks everybody should have health care, and he’s going to be more moderate on domestic issues than you and I might be comfortable with him being moderate. I’m talking about social. He’ll stay conservative on guns and abortion and other social issues, but he’s going to be more moderate on spending issues than you and I would like. But the Democrats aren’t going to be able to demonize him. So he’s going to be able to say don’t worry, I’m not going to take away your health care, I’m not going to cut your benefits. I’m going to pave more roads, and we’re going to cut the heads off of ISIS. And we’re going to be aggressive in going after terrorism. And we’re going to be aggressive in going after terrorism. And we’re going to be tough on immigration. And he’s going to have something for everybody.
HH: And on the day that he’s sworn in, Ruth Bader Ginsberg will be 83. Scalia and Kennedy will be 80, and Breyer will be 78. Who will pick his judges, Joe Scarborough?
JS: Well, I mean, if you’re right, I hope I will.
JS: …you know, because I will tell you this, for me…
HH: I love that.
JS: For me, there are actually three things that matter. But number one are Supreme Court justices, and that’s why as much of a nightmare as I consider George Bush’s administration because of the big spending, the massive debt and the Wilsonian second, you know, his second term being sort of Wilsonian, he picked some great justices. And I am hoping, I actually need to talk to Donald. I will actually talk to Donald about that next time I talk to him, because that is, that’s absolutely critical. And I know you’re going to have a lot of callers that say Roberts is a failure as a justice because of Obamacare…
HH: He’s not. He’s not. He’s a friend of me. I worked with the Chief in the same office. He’s a brilliant conservative originalist, and there were reasons he decided what he did.
JS: Yes, there are, and I understand those reasons. I was disappointed, but at the same time, if we had five Roberts, if I could guarantee five Roberts on the Court for the next generation, we would all be in great shape.
HH: So we’ve got a minute, Joe, and you know you’re going to be flooded. Mediaite’s going to run this. Joe Scarborough says that he’s open…
JS: No, I’m not. You’re just making stuff up now.
HH: He’s open to being the VP. When Donald next talks to you and he brings this up, and he says should I think about this, what are you going to say to him?
JS: Donald will never bring that up.
JS: You know what he will say to me the next time he sees me? He’ll say you should go play one of my golf courses. They’re one of the great golf courses in the world.
HH: Well, he tells me that, too, but he’s on this show next week, so I’m bringing it up to him, Vice President Scarborough. So you’d better beat me to it, Joe, because I’ve got this planned out.
JS: Hugh, you are a troublemaker.
JS: You’re an absolute troublemaker.
HH: Joe Scarborough, always great to talk to you.
JS: Great fun.
End of interview.