Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are reportedly in touch with Donald Trump several times a week despite the president-elect not having appeared on the show in months, Politico reports. The morning show hosts were criticized for having a cozy relationship with Trump during the Republican primary and general election, and are now being blasted for becoming "transition spokesmen," in the words of CNN's Chris Cuomo and others alarmed by the ethics of the relationship.
"With Trump, only those most willing to essentially, if unofficially, join the team themselves will get continued, dependable access,” Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan has said.
The Morning Joe hosts claim they have never held back on their criticism of Trump, with Scarborough telling Politico "we're just as blunt in person as we are on TV, whether we happened to be critical on the show that particular day or not." Scarborough claimed he talks with Trump "a few times a week," and Politico added that Brzezinski visited Trump Tower last week to meet with Ivanka Trump over coffee.
Scarborough defended his relationship with Trump, saying he and his team weren't playing favorites. "This is nothing new for Mika and me," he told Politico. "We spoke regularly to Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod in the Obama White House, and we have always maintained good relations with congressional leaders and Cabinet secretaries. Most of them watch the show and call us if they have an issue they want to discuss."