We haven’t had a RomneyWatch™ update in, what, three days? Far, far too long.
Why should you trust Scarborough’s reporting on this more than the umpteen other outlets that are following “The Apprentice: State Department”? Because, unlike most of the others, Scarborough has a pipeline to the top.
The cohosts are now in regular communication with Trump and his circle — so much so that they are fielding criticism for being a house organ for the incoming administration.
“They have always been boosters. Things turned south when trump froze them out but coverage always stilted. They are transition spokesmen now,” tweeted a rival morning anchor, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, on Tuesday. (Cuomo declined to comment further.)…
Scarborough, in an interview, declared that he and Brzezinski talk several times a week with Trump himself. And last week, Brzezinski traveled to Trump Tower and visited Ivanka Trump for coffee.
Papers have been reporting since the week after the election that Trump now “often” seeks out Scarborough for advice. That being so, he has no reason to BS Scarborough on his thinking by giving him false scoops — unless the Romney chatter really has been a long con to get Mitt’s hopes up before yanking the football away and Scarborough is in on it. At this point, that feels almost like a “Westworld” theory: Is William the Man in Black or someone else? Is Bernard human or a robot? Is Trump preparing to make Romney his chief diplomat or to pants him by declaring in the end that he was never really under consideration?
I’m surprised John Bolton hasn’t figured more prominently in the chatter lately. Eli Lake made the case for him yesterday. He has State Department experience, he had some important accomplishments on arms control during Dubya’s first term, and he’s simpatico with Trump (well, maybe not vis-a-vis Russia) on standing up to American adversaries:
Bolton also takes a hard line with rogue states. He was one of the most ardent opponents of Bill Clinton’s nuclear agreement with North Korea. After Trump’s electoral victory this month, Bolton called for regime change in Iran and said he hoped Trump would abrogate the nuclear deal with that regime.
Needless to say, Secretary of State Bolton would represent a sea change for U.S. foreign policy. The man who currently heads the State Department, John Kerry, is in temperament and ideology Bolton’s opposite. Kerry has bent over backwards to meet America’s adversaries halfway, whether it’s in talks with Russia over Syria, or the negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal.
But it’s worth asking what the Kerry approach has gotten us. As he finishes up his tenure, Iran tests missiles, arrests Americans and still demands new concessions from the U.S. China builds artificial islands in the South China Sea. And Russia continues to bomb civilians in Syria. Meanwhile, the Israelis and Palestinians are further away from a negotiated settlement than they were when Obama took office.
Bolton wrote an op-ed in January of this year encouraging the U.S. to use Taiwan as a lever to compel Chinese cooperation. Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president signals a shift towards that strategy. Unsurprisingly, Bolton was back on TV this week applauding Trump’s decision to hold that call. Bolton’s not a nation-building neoconservative either, although he is hawkish. He and Trump would seem to be a good fit — again, with the possible and important exception of Russia and NATO. He could run into confirmation problems given Rand Paul’s opposition, but I’ll bet Trump could peel off a few Manchin-style Democrats to get him over the hump. I wouldn’t count him out.
Scarborough and, especially, Brzezinski seem to like the idea of Bob Gates as a dark horse, though. I do too. I haven’t heard him mentioned anywhere as a contender, only someone whose advice Trump has sought, but it sounds like maybe the two are whispering to Trump about him. They should keep it up.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) December 6, 2016