MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Friday argued that President Donald Trump's goal is to inundate the American people with controversy to distract from the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has leverage over him.
The "Morning Joe" co-host launched into a five-minute monologue, flagged by Mediaite, saying that reports claiming Trump paid off porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter are part of a larger attempt to cover up what Putin is "holding over Donald Trump's head."
Scarborough listed a number of other controversies, including Trump's Twitter attack from June directed at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and the president's "racist" comments in response to clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.
During the monologue, Scarborough compared Trump's rhetoric of "numbing the masses" to the same "communication tactics" of dictators like Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler.
"You keep lying to the American people," Scarborough said, speaking to Trump. "And you flood them in so many lies … And you keep the steady stream up so much, that soon populations, religious leaders, civic leaders, editorial writers, newspaper editors, he hopes TV hosts become numb to it. And so when something like this comes out, they just ignore it."
The MSNBC host also said the Stormy Daniels pay off story, among other distractions, "is small compared to the biggest truth that Donald Trump doesn't want out."
"It's the truth we've been asking for since December of 2015," Scarborough continued. "Vladimir Putin has something that he is holding over Donald Trump's head, and it is bad."
Scarborough pointed to what he described as Trump's constant excuses for Putin's actions and his continued defense of the Russian president against all criticism.
"So what is Donald Trump hoping?" Scarborough asked. "He's not hoping that he can just brush aside a story of a porn star. He's hoping when the truth comes out about what Vladimir Putin has in his hat hanging over his head for decades, possibly, that we will be too numb to notice."