‘Morning Joe’ Searches for Signs of Trump Decline: We’ll Know ‘When the Nicknames Start to Go’ | Video

The “Morning Joe” crew kicked off the week with a whopper of a stretch – saying outright that Donald Trump “is encouraging Russia to attack our NATO allies” – but it was part of a larger point that as the former president’s comments get wilder, cracks are beginning to show.

Like “Fat Elvis,” host Joe Scarborough kept repeating, Trump has “lost all his moves.”

Trump said during a Saturday rally in South Carolina that an unnamed leader of a “large” NATO nation once asked him the following theoretical: If that country was delinquent on paying dues and was attacked, would the U.S. defend it? Trump said his response would be no – and that in this abstract example, he’d encourage the aggressor to “do whatever the hell they want … you gotta pay your bills.”

Despite that obviously embellished, hyperbolic hypotheticals have been Trump’s primary communication mode since the 1980s, co-host Mika Brzezinski opened Monday’s show simultaneously taking Trump at his literal word – with Joe then calling B.S. on the whole thing immediately after.

“As war rages in Europe and the Middle East, Donald Trump is encouraging Russia to attack our NATO allies,” Brzezinski said matter-of-factly to open the segment on MSNBC.

But in the end, both Scarborough and Brzezinski are convinced that the exchange never happened: “How stupid would you have to be … to go, ‘Oh, well, did [a NATO leader] really say that? That’s amazing,” Scarborough said in a mocking voice. “I didn’t believe a big-country president would say that.”

“He is now so desperate to support Vladimir Putin and undercut America’s allies in Europe, he’s making up a … story,” Scarborough continued. “It’s not even a good lie for Donald Trump. Like, you can tell he’s losing it. Like, he’s losing his touch. This is when Elvis couldn’t even get – he’s so fat, he couldn’t even get the scarves from around his neck to throw to the audience.”

Guest commentator and MSNBC analyst John Heilemann interjected that the “quality” of Trump’s fabrications is deteriorating – a sign that the Republican front-runner is, too. But Heilemann said there was another sign to watch out for: a decline in Trump’s perjorative nickname-giving.

“As [the lies] become more transparent and dumber, that’s one sign of terminal decline. Another is going to be when the nicknames start to go. When he starts, like, coming up with – when he refers to Joe Biden as ‘Cheery Joe’ or, I dunno, he’s gonna have some bad sets of nicknames,” Heilemann stammered. “The nicknames are going to decline, and that’s when we another sign Trump is reaching the final stages of ineptitude and politicial, uh … .”

“There’s just no doubt, this is Fat Elvis at the piano,” Scarborough said, cutting him off.

Watch the entire exchange in the video above.

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