|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Florida's 1st district
January 3, 1995 - September 5, 2001
April 9, 1963
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Political party||Independent (since 2017)|
|Republican (before 2017)|
Charles Joseph Scarborough (; born April 9, 1963) is an American cable news host and former congressman from Florida. He is currently the co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC with Mika Brzezinski, his wife. He previously hosted Scarborough Country on the same network. Scarborough was previously a lawyer and a politician and served in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 as a Republican for the 1st district of Florida.
Scarborough was also a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He was named in the 2011 Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world.
Charles Joseph Scarborough was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Mary Joanna (née Clark) and George Francis Scarborough, a businessman; he has two siblings. Scarborough graduated from Pensacola Catholic High School in Pensacola, Florida. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Alabama in 1985 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida College of Law in 1990. During this time he wrote music and produced CDs with his band, Dixon Mills, including the album "Calling on Robert E. Lee", and he also coached football and taught high school.
Scarborough's most high-profile case was briefly representing Michael F. Griffin, the killer of doctor David Gunn, in 1993. He made several court appearances representing Griffin, before removing himself from the case, later saying: "There was no way in hell I could sit in at a civil trial, let alone a capital trial," referring to the prospect of prosecutors seeking the death penalty against Griffin. Scarborough assisted Griffin in choosing other counsel from the many who offered their services, however, and helped shield the family from the media exposure, pro bono.
In 1994 Scarborough won the Republican Party primary for Florida's 1st congressional district. The seat had come open when eight-term Democratic incumbent Earl Dewitt Hutto announced his retirement. In the general election Scarborough defeated the Democratic candidate, Pensacola attorney Vince "Vinnie" Whibbs Jr., with 61 percent of the vote, becoming the first Republican to represent this part of Florida since the Reconstruction Era. Whibbs was the son of former Pensacola mayor Vince Whibbs. The district had not supported a Democratic candidate for U.S. president since 1960. However, Democratic candidates had continued to hold most local offices well into the 1990s. Scarborough's win coincided with a massive Republican wave that swept through the Florida Panhandle, as well as the entire United States. Republicans swept nearly all of the region's seats in the state legislature and have held them ever since.
During his congressional career, he received a 95 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. He signed the Contract with America. Scarborough served on the Armed Services, Judiciary, Government Reform, and Education committees. In 1998 he was named chairman of the Civil Service Committee.
Scarborough was one of a group of about 40 freshmen Republican legislators who dubbed themselves the "New Federalists" after The Federalist Papers. Scarborough was elected political director of the incoming legislators. The New Federalists called for sweeping cuts in the U.S. government, including plans to "privatize, localize, consolidate, [or] eliminate" the Departments of Commerce, Education, Energy and Housing and Urban Development. Gingrich tapped Scarborough to head a Republican task force on education, and Scarborough declared, "Our goal is to get as much money, power, and authority out of Washington and get as much money, power, and authority into the classroom as possible." Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio), then chairman of the House Budget Committee, adopted Scarborough's language eliminating the federal Department of Education in the 1996 House Budget Resolution. The budget passed the House by a vote of 238-193.
Scarborough supported a number of anti-abortion positions while in Congress, including the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, that made it a crime to harm a fetus during the commission of other crimes.
Scarborough sponsored a bill to force the U.S. to withdraw from the United Nations after a four-year transition and voted to make the Corporation for Public Broadcasting self-sufficient by eliminating federal funding. He also voted for the "Medicare Preservation act of 1995," which cut the projected growth of Medicare by $270 billion over ten years, and against the "Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996," which raised the minimum wage to $5.15. Scarborough had a conservative voting record on economic, social, and foreign policy issues but was seen as moderate on environmental issues and human rights causes, including supporting the closure of the School of the Americas and defending accused terrorist Lori Berenson.
While in Congress, Scarborough received a number of awards, including the "Friend of the Taxpayer Award" from Americans for Tax Reform; the "Guardian of Small Business Award" from the National Federation of Independent Business; the "Spirit of Enterprise Award" from the United States Chamber of Commerce; the "Taxpayer's Hero Award" from the Citizens Against Government Waste; and the "Guardian of Seniors' Rights Award" from the 60 Plus Association.
Scarborough announced his intent to resign to spend more time with his children five months into his fourth term in Congress. Of his resignation, Scarborough said, "The realization has come home to me that they're at a critical stage of their lives and I would rather be judged at the end of my life as a father than as a congressman." A special election was held to replace him.
After leaving Congress, he joined the Levin Papantonio Law Firm as an environmental lawyer, headed by the controversial and prominent trial lawyer Fred Levin. He practiced law with the firm Beggs and Lane, the oldest firm in Florida. He was appointed to the President's Council on the 21st Century Workforce in 2002.
In August 2005, Scarborough confirmed reports that he had been asked to consider a challenge to U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris for the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Bill Nelson's reelection bid. However, he announced later that month that he was renewing his contract with NBC.
In early 2009, Scarborough confirmed reports that he had been approached by Florida Republicans who wanted him to run for the Senate seat vacated by Republican Mel Martinez. Scarborough said he was not likely to run as he believes he can have more influence over public policy as the host of Morning Joe than as a U.S. senator. However, he has not ruled out a political career in the future.
In spring of 2015, speculation began that Scarborough would run for governor of Connecticut in 2018. On Morning Joe, Scarborough attacked Democratic governor Dannel Malloy for antibusiness policies that led General Electric to move its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Boston, Massachusetts. Scarborough followed this up with an op-ed in the state's largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant, criticizing the business climate in the Nutmeg State.
Scarborough is the co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, which features interviews with top newsmakers and politicians and analysis of the day's biggest stories. Previously, he hosted Scarborough Country, a primetime news show. He and Mika Brzezinski also briefly hosted a syndicated talk radio show called the Joe Scarborough Show on ABC Radio Network.
While still serving in Congress, Scarborough founded the free weekly Pensacola-area newspaper The Florida Sun in 1999. The paper later merged in 2001 and is now known as the "Independent News."
In April 2003, he embarked upon a television career with the launch of Scarborough Country on MSNBC, until he began hosting Morning Joe full-time.
Scarborough briefly hosted a three-hour radio show in 2005.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post in August 2016, Scarborough argued that the Republican party must "dump Donald Trump" as their presidential candidate. Drawing attention to Trump's remarks about Hillary Clinton and the Second Amendment, Scarborough wrote: "A bloody line has been crossed that cannot be ignored. At long last, Donald Trump has left the Republican Party few options but to act decisively and get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens."
In June 2017, Scarborough and Brzezinski were the targets of the President of the United States Donald Trump's tweets, in which, in response to their coverage of his administration, referred to him as "Psycho Joe" and called her "low I.Q. Crazy Mika," while asserting that she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift" when he previously encountered her at Mar-a-Lago. The hosts responded with an op-ed in the Washington Post, in which they described White House officials telling them that the president would kill a pending National Enquirer article if they apologized to Trump for their coverage of him. The president's tweets received criticism from numerous Republican lawmakers, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senators John McCain, Susan Collins, Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, and Lisa Murkowski.
In May 2007 Scarborough became one of the rotating hosts auditioning for the slot vacated by Imus in the Morning on MSNBC. Scarborough, with his morning show, won the slot permanently in July 2007.
Morning Joe is a weekday MSNBC morning news and talk show, airing from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern Time. It features Joe Scarborough providing both enterprise reporting and discussion on the news of the day in a panel format with co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist. The show features in-depth discussions that help drive the day's political conversation.
In 2007, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Willie, Mika, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, and Joe to cut the ribbon on the new set of Morning Joe at 30 Rock.
Scarborough has covered presidential elections and conventions. In 2015 he interviewed then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and abruptly ended the interview, but resumed it after commercial break. During the 2016 election, Scarborough criticized the Democratic National Committee for trying to protect Hillary Clinton and ensure she received the Democratic party's presidential nomination, calling the DNC "rigged" against voters. 2017 marks the program's 10th year on air.
According to Nielsen ratings in 2016, Morning Joe delivered MSNBC's biggest total viewer and demo audiences in the time period ever and beat third-place CNN in both categories. This marks Morning Joes seventh straight year topping CNN in total viewers. Scarborough also is a regular guest on NBC and MSNBC news programs and has appeared on Meet the Press numerous times. In April 2012 Scarborough guest-hosted Meet the Press.
On December 8, 2008, Scarborough and Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski began hosting a two-hour late-morning radio show on WABC (770 AM) in New York City, replacing 12-year veteran host John Gambling. As of April 26, 2010, the radio show has been put on "hiatus" to redevelop its format into a new three-hour show.
Scarborough released his first book, Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day: the Real Deal on how Politicians, Bureaucrats, and other Washington Barbarians are Bankrupting America, on October 4, 2005.
In his second book, The Last Best Hope, released on June 9, 2009, Scarborough outlined a plan to help guide conservatives back to a political majority after their defeats in the 2006 midterm elections and the 2008 Presidential election.
On November 12, 2013, Scarborough released his third book, The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics--and Can Again.
Scarborough released his debut EP, Mystified, on June 23, 2017. A music video for the title track of the new wave-inspired EP was also released on the same day. Scarborough plans to release a new EP every month for the next four years.
In 1986, Scarborough married Melanie Hinton. They have two sons and divorced in 1999. While interviewing Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in June 2005, Scarborough expressed concerns about the possibility that one of his sons may have suffered vaccine damage (See Thimerosal controversy). Scarborough said, "My son, born in 1991, has a slight form of autism called Asperger's. When I was practicing law and also when I was in Congress, parents would constantly come to me and they would bring me videotapes of their children, and they were all around the age of my son or younger. So, something happened in 1989."
In October 2001, Scarborough married his second wife, Susan Waren, a former aide to Florida governor Jeb Bush and a former congressional committee staffer. Their daughter was born in August 2003; their son was born in May 2008. Scarborough and Waren were divorced in January 2013.
Scarborough currently resides in New Canaan, Connecticut, an affluent suburb near New York City. In early 2017 during a trip to Antibes, France, he became engaged to his co-host Mika Brzezinski. They married on November 24, 2018 in Washington D.C. in a ceremony officiated by U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings.
In 1993 ... Griffin became the first activist to murder an abortion provider, ushering in a new level of terrorism in the abortion wars.