Morning Joe's 9/11 thought: Trump has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign enemy

The most charitable read of this is that, although he’ll never admit it, Scarborough feels very, very guilty for his outsized role in promoting and mainstreaming Trump’s candidacy in 2015 and will now seize on literally any opportunity to try to atone.

Even a day when most of the rest of us are remembering Americans being forced to dive headfirst off a skyscraper to avoid being burned to death by jihadi degenerates.

Or maybe I’m giving Joe too much credit in attributing this reaction to remorse. There’s a certain strain of febrile anti-Trumper for whom every political thought, no matter how far afield, somehow comes back to the president. Maybe that’s how it is for Scarborough too. You sit down to take stock of America’s long international journey since 9/11 and somehow you arrive at … a GOTV pitch for Democrats in the midterms. All intellectual roads lead to anti-MAGA.

Sixteen years of strategic missteps have been followed by the maniacal moves of a man who has savaged America’s vital alliances, provided comfort to hostile foreign powers, attacked our intelligence and military communities, and lent a sympathetic ear to neo-Nazis and white supremacists across the globe.

For those of us still believing that Islamic extremists hate America because of the freedoms we guarantee to all people, the gravest threat Trump poses to our national security is the damage done daily to America’s image. As the New York Times’s Roger Cohen wrote the month after Trump’s election, “America is an idea. Strip freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law from what the United States represents to the world and America itself is gutted.”

Osama bin Laden was killed by SEAL Team 6 before he accomplished that goal. Other tyrants who tried to do the same were consigned to the ash heap of history. The question for voters this fall is whether their country will move beyond this troubled chapter in history or whether they will continue supporting a politician who has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could.

You would think a piece lamenting Bush’s aggressive adventurism and Obama’s overcompensating timidity abroad would at least mention that Trump has tried to find a middle ground. He’s pursued highest-level diplomacy to try to defuse the threat in North Korea while finishing the war on ISIS and making a show of force not once but twice after chemical attacks in Syria that Obama was unwilling to do. Even his policy record on Russia has been decent, however repulsive his rhetoric has been, most notably in Helsinki. That’s not to say Scarborough owes him any praise, but zeroing in on Trump on 9/11 in these terms inescapably draws a moral equivalence between him and Bin Laden’s crew of mass murderers. The comparison grossly exaggerates Trump’s misdeeds and grossly minimizes Al Qaeda’s, whether that’s what he intended or not.

People are unloading on him on Twitter for it too, forcing a rare “maybe I was too hard on that maniac” walkback from Joe:

If it’s any consolation to him, there’s also a Democratic version of the “9/11 reminds me of my favorite political grievance” game. Both sides have their hobbyhorses and apparently the anniversary of Americans being incinerated en masse is a fine time to ride.