Scarborough: Trump Might Move Toward Leaving Republican Party, Becoming an Independent President

August 11, 2017

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said Friday that President Donald Trump's war of words with Republican Senators like Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) could be proof he's thinking of leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent.

Trump has publicly belittled McConnell this week, scolding him on Twitter for failing to get "repeal and replace" of Obamacare passed. At a Thursday press availability, Trump said he was "very disappointed" with McConnell and suggested he should step aside from his leadership post if other parts of the GOP agenda don't get passed.

McConnell had previously criticized Trump for having "excessive expectations" for legislation due to being a political novice.

On "Morning Joe," Scarborough called the war Trump is waging on McConnell "baffling."

"This just illustrates in the most dramatic way possible that Donald Trump is not in fact a Republican," MSNBC guest John Heilemann said. "No Republican president would wage war on the Republican Majority Leader of the United States Senate."

Scarborough pointed to Trump's involvement with trying to defeat incumbent Sens. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) and Dean Heller (R., Nev.) in 2018 as evidence he may leave the party altogether.

"I wonder if this is Steve Bannon's dream that we've heard of whispers in the past that maybe Donald Trump moves toward being an independent president," he said. "He leaves the Republican—because that's the only thing that makes sense here."

Heilemann said that may be a "romantic" notion but added Trump would be unable to get any part of his agenda passed without party support.

Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, announced he had left the party and become an independent during an appearance last month on "The Late Show." A former friend of the president's, Scarborough has been sharply critical of the White House and his now-former party throughout 2017.