MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell said Friday she had "never been as discouraged" with the country's leadership, sounding almost emotional as she declared a "central corruption" existed in U.S. government.
"Morning Joe" was dominated again by discussion of President Donald Trump's response to violence in Charlottesville, Va., where he said there was blame on "both sides" and "many fine people" on both sides of the protests there. Although Trump denounced white supremacist groups, Republican and Democratic critics charge he equivocated white supremacist violence and hateful rhetoric with counter-protesters.
As the show discussed the Republican response to Trump's latest controversy, host Joe Scarborough asked Mitchell, "Is the center holding," over a chyron about "the search for moral courage in uncertain times."
"I'm an optimist. I have never been as discouraged as I have been this week about our country," Mitchell said, sounding despondent. "Not the people of our country, but the leaders of our country. There is a central corruption of the spirit at the core of all of this."
Mitchell said all she saw was "self-love" and not leadership. She then took a shot at Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who had denounced white supremacy groups as hateful "garbage," saying she could not believe that Cruz showed more character and compassion than the U.S. President.
"I don't know where we go here," Mitchell said. "I do think that you have Senators Tim Scott, others … Ted Cruz. Who would have thought that Ted Cruz would be more compassionate, loving and show more character this week than the President of the United States. It's just totally confounding."
Mitchell said someone needed to be the "Hugh Scott and Barry Goldwater" in this situation, referring to two members of Congress who visited Richard Nixon at the White House on August 7, 1974 and told him he faced certain removal from office over the Watergate scandal. Nixon announced his resignation a day later.
"I'm waiting to see what House leaders do, but someone has to go, and, thinking back, someone has to be the Hugh Scott and Barry Goldwater who go to the White House and say, ‘This cannot continue. You have got to get this into shape,'" Mitchell said. "And I don't know when that happens and who those people are, and whether he will listen."