On Wednesday morning's "Morning Joe" the hosts and a few of the panelists seemed to finally understand why the Republican base has warmed up so much to Donald Trump after Tim Mak, the author of an expose on Trump's 1990s divorce, appeared briefly as a guest.
"When you have his lawyer, who should know better, saying that there is no such thing as spousal rape," Mak says before the segment was cut short. "That is alarming."
Trump coverage "is expected to be like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," says panelist Mike Barnicle. "What else are you going to look at? This is -- You can't get a more arcane aspect of the Trump background than a divorce settlement 15 or 20 years ago? What else do you think is out there that could be trolled upon?"
"I'm not sure exactly," replies Tim Mak, "but I think this story is an illustration of what we might see. This is a guy who actually is appealing to a large percentage of the Republican primary base. That's worth looking at and he is worth vetting."
"Okay, you guys let me know when you uncover something new," says Brzezinski, eager to change subjects. "OK, Tim Mak, thanks for coming."
"Hold on," says Mak. "I think it is totally relevant. The top advisor to Donald Trump doesn't beleive that spousal rape is illegal."
"And it shows you the kinds of people that Donald Trump surrounds himself with," adds Mak.
"Alright," says a sheepish Joe Scarborough, "we're going to have you back another time on another topic... I think it is best to thank you for coming and slowly step away from this segment... Thank you, Tim... boy, he walked into a buzz saw."
"I'm not arguing that," summarizes Mika Brzezinski.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I'm not here defending Donald Trump, but this is why good people don't run for office...
HENRY FORD: He deserves to be defended on this.
SCARBOROUGH: I wonder if [the Trump candidacy] isn't in part, a reaction by the voters, who say "we don't care." We think people are negotiatiing stupid trade deals, we want somebody who knows how to get things done. Maybe that is a reaction to the media as well as everything else.
MIKE BARNICLE: Of course it is.
HENRY FORD: I think Mika's reaction is probably a lot like most Americans will have on the way people are going about attacking this guy, whether you like his politics, what he has said -- seperate that. If to go after him in this way is the best the press has against him, he's going to be around a little bit longer than some have predicted. In fact he'll find a place in the spotlight, legitimately so, for some time.
MIKE BARNICLE: It is legitimate for the press to go back and look at the history of someone who is a frontrunner. There are a lot of things people who are new to Donald Trump don't know, but a lot of people don't know he ocne supported single payer healthcare, was a donor to Hillary Clinton, he once supported the legalization of drugs...
JOE SCARBOROUGH: That is legitimate, but going back and taking a remark that an ex-wife later took back...