MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said that President Donald Trump and his policies have hurt the U.S. far more than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks did.
Scarborough made the inflammatory remarks Monday in a Washington Post op-ed, which detailed how he felt that Trump and company damaged America's post-9/11 image.
Tuesday marked the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that took myriad lives in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.
"Forget about knocking down buildings in the financial district. Forget about running planes into the Pentagon," Scarborough said. "Those are tragedies, but those tragedies bring us closer together. America is an idea, you gut America of that idea that’s when you do the most harm."
For an example, Scarborough pointed to Trump’s travel ban on immigration from Muslim countries.
Scarborough also pointed to failed policies that were supposed to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The accumulation of that, the retweeting of neo-Nazi videos, Charlottesville," he added. "I mean I could go on and on, what he said about majority black countries. That is tearing more at the fabric of America than attacks on the Twin Towers did. We rebuilt from that. We became stronger because of that. But this seems to me a far graver threat to the idea of America."
Scarborough continued, "Sixteen years of strategic missteps have been followed by the maniacal moves of a man who has savaged America’s vital alliances, provided comfort to hostile foreign powers, attacked our intelligence and military communities, and lent a sympathetic ear to neo-Nazis and white supremacists across the globe."
"For those of us still believing that Islamic extremists hate America because of the freedoms we guarantee to all people, the gravest threat Trump poses to our national security is the damage done daily to America’s image," Scarborough explained.
The "Morning Joe" co-host concluded by indicating that it's more important than ever for U.S. citizens to get out and vote in the November midterm elections.
"The question for voters this fall is whether their country will move beyond this troubled chapter in history or whether they will continue supporting a politician who has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could," he said.
Later in the day, Scarborough attempted to walk back his remarks after facing heavy criticism.
In a series of tweets, he wrote, "The column was focused on 17 years of strategic missteps. The last paragraph became the sole focus of Trump supporters. On every other day of the year, I do not shy away from negative feedback from the right, the left or from Trump supporters."
"On September 11th, I’ll read the column again and think about whether I could have said the same thing in a way less offensive to Trump supporters on September 11th," he added.
The column was focused on 17 years of strategic missteps. The last paragraph became the sole focus of Trump supporters. On every other day of the year, I do not shy away from negative feedback from the right, the left or from Trump supporters.— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) September 11, 2018
On September 11th, I’ll read the column again and think about whether I could have said the same thing in a way less offensive to Trump supporters on September 11th.— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) September 11, 2018