Updated. 12:21 p.m.
From same-sex marriage to race in America, Republican leaders lack “the guts to stare down the crazies in their own party,” Joe Scarborough said on Morning Joe today during a conversation that exposed the hypocrisy of GOP officials willing to show compassion in private but not in public.
The conversation turned personal when msnbc anchor Thomas Roberts revealed that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and other GOP officials congratulated Roberts who married his partner last year.
“Reince Priebus, when I got engaged, congratulated me at the White House correspondents weekend,” Roberts said. And last year, the Republican National Committee’s communications director, “Sean Spicer, congratulated me on getting married to my husband. It’s odd because then they’ll go out and drum beat against marriage equality.”
“Since 2006,” Scarborough said, “Republican leaders have said one thing in green rooms, another thing on TV and another thing on talk radio.”
Scarborough called out GOP leaders for hurting the party. “Guts, they don’t have guts to speak out against extremists. Mitt Romney never had the guts to speak out against the most extreme elements in his party and he lost, in part because he followed extremists down a rabbit hole.”
“You take Trayvon. It would have cost Republican leaders absolutely nothing to just show a little respect and show a little bit of sympathy and speak out against the most extreme elements. I got out early and said some things about George Zimmerman myself that I shouldn’t have said perhaps. I got overly emotional, but I’m not in office, and if I were in office, I would have apologized. It doesn’t cost you anything to be compassionate.”
The Republican Party is sending out signals, Scarborough said: ”If you’re not white, you’re really not welcome in this party.”
After the show, Spicer responded in a brief statement.
“Believing marriage is between one man and one woman and being polite, courteous and respectful are not mutually exclusive,” he told msnbc.