Morning Joe plays defense for Trump on transgender military ban, arguing perhaps he “didn't really want to do it”

Scarborough: “Donald Trump also said, I'm going to be the most progressive guy when it comes to” rights for LGBTQ people,  “so, don't know that that's what he wants to do, even if he wants to feed the red meat to his base.”

From the August 30 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

Video file

NICK CONFESSORE: So the president's second order did give [Secretary of Defense James] Mattis the discretion to implement this policy, and given the whole way this was rolled out -- first with the tweet, which came out of nowhere, and then with the second policy, and now with Mattis' announcement -- I have to wonder if this was kind of the point.

JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): Orchestrated --

CONFESSORE: That the second stage of it was intended to back up the president's tweet and give him the chance to say, look, I did it, but he didn't really want to do it, gave it to Mattis. 

SCARBOROUGH: Noah, no one has accused Gen. Mattis of being a dumb man, nor has anyone ever accused him of not obeying orders, going up and down the chain of command. So what Nick says makes a lot of sense. Donald Trump saying I really don't want to do this, I've got to throw red meat to the crazies at my base, why don't you give me some cover here.

NOAH ROTHMAN: Yeah, I'm not sure whether or not Donald Trump really doesn't want to do this because he's taken to communicating almost exclusively to his base of supporters, this fringe of the Republican Party that he relies on. 

SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, feeding them. Feeding them very, very well. They're quite plump right now on right-wing stoogery. But at the same time --

MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): Isn't this thinking too hard for the president?

SCARBOROUGH: This is not -- no, but at the same time, Donald Trump also said, I'm going to be the most progressive guy when it comes to, you know, rights for, you know -- he went down the laundry list. So, don't know that that's what he wants to do, even if he wants to feed the red meat to his base. 

ROTHMAN: Yeah, I think in his heart -- you know, who can know this president. 

SCARBOROUGH: That is the correct way to finish that sentence. 

ROTHMAN: I mean, he's a guy from New York --

CONFESSORE: You were about to say, “In his heart, I think this.” Then you were like --

ROTHMAN: I can’t speak for the president.

SCARBOROUGH: But he's a Manhattan guy. A Queens-Manhattan guy.

ROTHMAN: He's a Manhattan guy, and he's not -- I don't think he's overtly hostile towards gays and lesbians and transgenders, but at the same time his head is perhaps telling him that this is what aggravates people I don’t like, and who aggravates the people who my base don’t like, and therefore it’s a beneficial policy. 

Previously:

Right-wing media and hate groups applaud Trump for banning transgender people from serving in the US armed forces

Watch a transgender former Navy SEAL explain the disruption Trump's military ban on trans service members will have on the military

Tucker Carlson says Sec. of Defense Mattis should resign if he allows transgender Americans to serve in the military