'Morning Joe' Host Joe Scarborough Says He's Leaving the Republican Party

In an appearance on 'The Late Show,' Scarborough blasts what he describes as the GOP's unwillingness to criticize Trump

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski arrive for the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, April 25, 2015.
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman and the co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, announced on Tuesday that he was leaving the Republican Party to become an independent. 

In an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" alongside his co-host, Mika Brzezinski, Scarborough blasted what he described as the GOP's unwillingness to criticize U.S. President Donald Trump.

"In February, when he [Trump] pretended that he didn't know who David Duke was and didn't know what the Ku Klux Klan did, you didn't have Republicans coming out and saying, 'I can't support Donald Trump because he's racist,'" Scarborough said in a reference to the former KKK leader.

"You have to ask yourself, what exactly is the Republican Party willing to do? How far are they willing to go? How much of this country and our values are they willing to sell out?" Scarborough proceeded to ask Colbert.

"Aren’t you a Republican?" Colbert then asked.

"I am a Republican, but I’m not going to be a Republican anymore. I’ve got to become an independent," Scarborough answered, drawing loud applause from the audience. 

Scarborough and Brzezinski, who were on friendly terms with Trump early in the 2016 presidential campaign but have been critical of him since he took office, made headlines in late June after Trump called the former "Psycho Joe" and referred to his co-host as "low I.Q. Crazy Mika."

The two television anchors responded with a column in The Washington Post, in which they questioned Trump's mental health and accused him of trying to exert pressure on them over unfavorable coverage, calling it blackmail. 

"President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal. America's leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president," they wrote in the column.