Tuesday’s edition of Morning Joe featured a discussion by some of its regular panelists of the disrespectful treatment which President Barack Obama received from both China and the Philippines during his current trip to Hangzhou, China, for the Group of 20 summit meeting on Saturday. The American president was denied the red-carpet treatment as he disembarked Air Force One. No American president had been so disrespected; at least not by China.
As though that was a sign of more contempt to come the president’s way, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, used profane terms to describe Obama when he called him a “son of a whore.” Duterte, a foul-mouthed human being, was responding to Obama’s promise to raise the issue of drug-related executions and other human rights violations for which the Philippines has become notorious, during a planned meeting. Offended by the remark, Obama swiftly cancelled the meeting with Duterte, and rightly, too.
While reflecting openly on the two incidents, Joe Scarborough, one of the program’s co-hosts, sounded very offended that Obama had not been accorded the respect he deserved as president of the United States. “By the way, I stand with my president,” Scarborough said. “When he’s overseas and the disrespect that was shown to my president and my country was nothing but …disgraceful.” Scarborough later went on to term all of it “inexplicable.”
Nicolle Wallace, a regular on the show, and former White House communications director under President George W. Bush, weighed in by saying she couldn’t even imagine anything of the sort happening to the former President or Condoleezza Rice, who also served in that administration as secretary of state. She believed that Rice would have punched one of the Chinese officials.
It was noteworthy that Scarborough and Wallace, both of them Republicans, appeared the most offended by the somewhat ignominious way their president was treated. You glean that conclusion from not just the words they uttered, but from their excited appearances as well.
But some of us refuse to be swindled by this deceptive outrage. Scarborough, in particular, gave hypocritical a bad name when he made protestations about the snub and the insults Obama got from the Asians. Among the Urhobo ethnic group of Nigeria, is a proverb which goes something like this, “It is the in-house mouse that invites its outside friends in to torment the house owner.”
Duterte and the Chinese officials didn’t just wake up suddenly and blithely decided it would be sheer fun to disrespect the president of the United States. No. They have merely followed in the footsteps of Republicans who, from the get-go, decided it was beneath them to accord America’s Black president the respect he deserves as a person and as the country’s elected leader.
These Asians, I wager, have been watching Morning Joe and Fox News, and have seen how their panelists treat Obama differently from previous American presidents, even on issues where he deserves to be given plaudits for accomplishments made. They have watched the Republican-led Congress and seen the utter disregard its Republican memberss have for their president. For nearly eight years now, they have seen —- Duterte and the Chinese —- how members of Scarborough’s party have tried to dishonor and defrock him of dignity by parachuting a foreign prime minister into the chamber of Congress to talk down this president. They must have heard when Joe Wilson, a Congressional Republican from South Carolina, interrupted the president’s speech to members of Congress on September 9, 2010, when he yelled, “You lie!”
For years, the Asians watched Donald Trump on television wage a delegitimizing campaign against the president by questioning his citizenship and faith, yet neither Scarborough nor Wallace, condemned Trump’s racism and asked him to apologize for it during his frequent appearances on Morning Joe. Mark Halperin, a frequent panelist on the show, once derided Obama by calling him a d**k during one of its segments. Although he later apologized for the ugly name-calling, I’m sure Duterte, under whatever rock he was crawling in circles at the time, had heard Halperin when he first uttered that offensive word.
The point of all that is simply this: next time Scarborough feels compelled to take umbrage at foreigners for treating President Barack Obama disrespectfully, he should first of all have the bounden duty to rebuke members of his own party for unceasingly, and without a smidgen of conscience, doing the same thing to a very decent man and capable leader. Charity, after all, begins at home.