Joe Scarborough 'officially' leaves the Republican Party

A curious announcement from the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe show: Joe Scarborough says he's leaving the Republican Party.

What makes the announcement curious is that virtually no one considered Scarborough a Republican in the first place.  The former Florida congressman hasn't liked anything Republicans have done for years, which makes his announcement anti-climactic, to say the least.

The Hill:

"I am a Republican, but I'm not going to be a Republican anymore," Scarborough said during an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

The former Florida GOP congressman said he was going to become an Independent.

His announcement comes after President Trump launched an attackon Scarborough and "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski in late June.

Trump went after Brzezinski's looks, saying that she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift" when she and Scarborough visited Trump's Mar-a-Lago club on New Year's Eve.

The "Morning Joe" duo fought back, saying that White House staff told them that Trump would have a tabloid story run about them unless they "begged" for it to be killed. Scarborough said he had evidence to back these claims but that he wouldn't release it.

Trump was once a regular guest on "Morning Joe," when the co-hosts were accused of having a cozy relationship with the candidate during the GOP primary. But the relationship soured, and Trump began feuding with the MSNBC hosts.

The Republican National Committee also targeted the show in May, calling it "the worst case of Trump Derangement Syndrome."

Scarborough had a reputation in Congress of being a fiscal hawk and a social conservative.  Since he resigned his seat five months into his fourth term, his views have gradually moderated, although as recently as 2010, he wrote a book advocating big cuts in federal spending and tax relief for the middle class.

I think the opposition to Scarborough for his criticisms of President Trump sometimes reflect an ultra-sensitivity on the part of Trump supporters – and of the president himself.  You can't blame Scarborough for what his co-host Mika Brzezinski says about the president, but he is sometimes identified with her positions. 

Nevertheless, there is a good point to be made that you can't be a party man without supporting the leader of the party most of the time.  For Scarborough, he crossed that bridge long ago.  He is simply acknowledging a reality that almost everyone else recognized already.

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