Morning Joe's Double Standard On Vetting Campaign Crowds
Hillary Clinton Is Control Freakish, But It's No Big Deal For Donald Trump
Research ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN
The hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe wrote off reports that Donald Trump's campaign screened attendees at an event to admit only supporters as something "candidates on both sides of the aisle" typically do, but previously condemned Hillary Clinton for the "control freakishness" of vetting attendees at her campaign events.
Trump Campaign Staffers Screened For Supporters At Vermont Rally
Trump Campaign Turned Away Ticket Holders From Rally Who Didn't Say They Would Support Trump. Donald Trump's campaign staff reportedly screened ticket holders at a January 7 campaign event in Burlington, VT, asking if they supported Donald Trump for president. The Associated Press reported that "[t]hose who said they didn't were promptly escorted out of the building":
Thousands of people stood in line for hours waiting to get into the Burlington event after the campaign distributed 20,000 free tickets to the Flynn Center for the Performing Art, which has just 1,400 seats.
To whittle down the crowd, rally-goers with tickets in hand who'd waited for hours in the cold were asked as they entered the venue whether or not they supported Trump.
Those who said they didn't were promptly escorted out of the building.
Trump defended the decision, describing it a matter of loyalty.
"We have more than 20,000 people that showed up for 1,400 spots. I'm taking care of my people, not people who don't want to vote for me or are undecided. They are loyal to me and I am loyal to them," he said in a statement released by his campaign. [Associated Press, 1/8/16]
Morning Joe Wrote Off Trump's Screening Process As Typical, While Lamenting "Far More Calculating" Candidates ...
Morning Joe Dismissed Trump's Screening Process: "Candidates On Both Sides Of The Aisle ... Make Sure Their Audiences Are Very Supportive." On the January 8 edition of Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski excused the screening process at Trump's rally as something "candidates on both sides of the aisle" do to "make sure their audiences are very supportive." Joe Scarborough added there's another "candidate or two that are far more calculating":
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (HOST): I noticed a lot of sort of coverage of the people being screened coming in, John Heilemann. Is that --
HOWARD DEAN: Yeah, there was a lot of that.
BRZEZINSKI: There was a lot of screening but I would venture to say there are some candidates on both sides of the aisle that make sure their audiences are very supportive and I'll be kind and leave it right there.
JOE SCARBOROUGH (HOST): And several really calculate.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Well I think there's no question there are a lot of candidates that again, generally candidates get people who support them to come and the way tickets get distributed is to people who are supporters.
HEILEMANN: I don't know of very many -- I've not seen very many political events in the past where I've seen a candidate with people asking people as they come into the door, "are you a supporter." In fact, as you guys know, at New Hampshire town meetings and Iowa town meetings the whole point is for a lot of undecided voters to show up. And you want to have people who come into the door who aren't committed voters to you and you want to appeal to those people to try and bring them in your tent.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, of course, then you have other candidates who are so calculated that everything down to the fire truck is polished perfectly.
DEAN: Who would you guys be aiming that at?
SCARBOROUGH: We're not aiming at anybody. We're just saying there's a certain candidate or two that are far more calculating. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 1/8/16]
... But Previously Criticized The "Control Freakishness" Of Hillary Clinton's Campaign Events
Scarborough Agreed That There's A "Control Freakishness" To Clinton's Campaign Events. On the April 17, 2015 edition of Morning Joe, Scarborough commented on reports that Hillary Clinton's campaign "recruited" and "vetted" attendees for a campaign event, bemoaning that there was "a little bit of control stuff here." Scarborough confirmed panelist Eugene Robinson's suggestion that he thought there was "a little control freakishness sort of happening":
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (HOST): As she leaves Iowa, she brings with her new questions about her campaign's authenticity. The Daily Mail reports that her campaign staff recruited some of those everyday Americans that she met with in Iowa. The site reports one was a former Obama campaign intern who was vetted for a half an hour, and then driven by a Clinton campaign staffer to sit in the Iowa coffee shop that the candidate visited on Tuesday.
JOE SCARBOROUGH (HOST): By the way, Gene, that reminds me of The New York Times reporter who went to the Clinton Global Initiative this past year.
SCARBOROUGH: Went to the bathroom and a staff member for Hillary walked with her, followed her into the bathroom and stood outside the stall. A little bit of control stuff here.
EUGENE ROBINSON: You think there's a little control freakishness sort of happening?
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 4/17/15]