For most of the year I’ve been following a sort of self-imposed rule dictating that I was going to be ignoring anyone deplorable enough to already start talking about 2020 after the endless carnage of 2016. Today I will apparently have to begin ignoring myself because this story from Mediaite was just too good to pass up. Most of you have probably been hearing about the ongoing war between President Trump and the Morning Joe crew (even if you’ve been trying to avoid it) and things haven’t calmed down much yet. But just how far could that battle go?

Rather than sticking with a war of words between the President’s Twitter feed and the panel discussions on MSNBC every morning from six until nine, could Joe Scarborough be thinking of unseating Donald Trump and taking the big chair for himself? Mediaite looks at the current New York Magazine cover story which features the Morning Joe crew and some interesting accusations coming out of the administration which claim that Joe is upset because he wanted to be president himself.

President Joe Scarborough?

If you just spit out your Morning Joe, you’re probably not alone, yet thanks to a new, New York Magazine cover profile, the issue can now no longer be ignored. In the often meandering look at TV news’ ultimate power couple, the question of Scarborough’s presidential aspirations were brought to the fore.

“He wanted to be president, and he’s not. And, of all people, Donald Trump is. This is crazy,” a senior White House official told reporter Olivia Nuzzi.

We already have a response from Team Joe and it can best be summed up as a flat denial. But even in that moment, NYMag describes the denial as being, “less than Shermanesque.”

Scarborough and Brzezinski said the White House is misrepresenting their motivations, though they didn’t rule out that Scarborough might be interested in running for president in the future. “It was never mentioned, never discussed, and anyone who ever said it is a liar,” Scarborough said. “No ambiguity there at all. I’m happy right where I am with Mika, music, and Morning Joe,” which he calls his “three M’s.”

Stand by for a quick trip in the Wayback Machine because I have a tiny bit of history on this subject myself. Now, I’m not saying that Joe discussed it with anyone at the White House or that he has even talked about it recently. But the idea of him running in 2016 wasn’t exactly foreign territory to him either.

I just dredged up an interview that I did with Joe back in March of 2014. We were at the New Hampshire Republican Leadership Conference where Joe was a panel moderator and was also plugging his most recent book which had just come out. He stopped by what passed for a media room at that event and recorded the following interview with me. (I’ll warn you ahead of time that I was exhausted, looked and sounded even more terrible than usual and the audio is really poor because of the ad hoc setup I was using and all of the noise in the room from other reporters.) If you fast forward to the ten minute mark we actually discussed whether or not Scarborough was “testing the waters” and if a 2016 run was something he would consider.

Joe Scarborough: You had asked me a question a couple of weeks ago about whether I would totally rule out running and I said I wouldn’t rule it out. But when I do things, whether it’s running for Congress or whether it’s running a show I do it 100%…

Right now I’m not going 100%. If I was running you would know I was running whether I announced it or not. I’m just not doing it right now. I’m keeping all options open. People have been asking me from the national Republican Party since 2004 to run for Senate. It’s something that kind of happens every two years. I keep all options open because I absolutely love being in Washington…

If the time comes in the future when I feel like I can make a difference, where I can help my party, but more importantly help the conservative cause I’ll do it.

So as you can see, this has been going on for a while. I’ll take Joe at his word that he didn’t tell anyone he was running, but it’s obviously something he’s considered at times and he’s not exactly emphatic in any sort of denial. But now comes the big question: Joe recently left the Republican Party. In this fantasy world where he’s running in 2020 is it in the Republican primary, the Democratic primary or as an independent?

Can you say, “Scarborough Sanders fusion ticket?”