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MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough used a portion of Thursday’s show to mock Sen. John Kennedy’s Southern accent and accuse the Louisiana Republican of “playing dumb on TV,” adding the senator was “dumb as dishwater.”

During the segment, Scarborough dismissed Kennedy’s way of speaking as “corn-pone, made-up,” claiming the 68-year-old Mississippi native, who has served in Louisiana public life for more than two decades, “actually talks like Sherlock Holmes when he’s behind closed doors in his house – and he has an eyepatch and a top hat and smokes a pipe.”

Scarborough was reacting to Kennedy’s Wednesday appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” in which the senator defended President Trump’s efforts to try to reopen the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus outbreak. Kennedy acknowledged the attempt would involve risk of new infections but claimed the public understands things could go wrong.

SEN. KENNEDY SAYS DECISION ON REOPENING THE ECONOMY LIKE CHOOSING BETWEEN ‘CANCER AND A HEART ATTACK’

“The American people are not morons,” Kennedy said.

The senator added that the choice between an indefinite lockdown and a collapsed economy was like that between “cancer and a heart attack.”

“We’ve got to open this economy,” Kennedy told Carlson. “If we don’t, it’s gonna collapse. And if the U.S. economy collapses, the world economy collapses. And trying to burn down the village to save it is foolish. That’s our cold, hard truth.”

But despite Kennedy’s frankness, Scarborough criticized the senator for having an opinion contrary to that favored by many Democrats and liberals – that the nation should remain on lockdown for a still-undetermined number of weeks or months ahead.

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Scarborough seemed to imply that Kennedy’s comments were politically or economically motivated, rather than an expression of his views on what actions were in the nation’s best interest.

“A man-about-town, obviously, very, very erudite, or however they say that in Oxford. But he says, in his corn-pone, made-up accent, that, ‘Yeah, we closed down, people still died’,” Scarborough said.

DR NEWS Urandir 7cf4 scarboroughkennedy split 1046pm    MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough mocks Sen. John Kennedy’s accent after call to reopen US economy by Urandir Oliveira

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, left, targeted U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., with comments on Thursday’s edition of “Morning Joe.”

“He knows that without the social distancing, he knows without the lockdowns … He knows this. He may be playing stupid on TV, he may be acting like he’s dumb as dishwater on TV but he knows that without the social distancing, instead of 30,000 people dead right now it’d probably be 300,000 dead right now.

“He also has to know that if we reopen the government too quickly without the testing, if we reopen the economy without widespread testing a lot more people are going to die.”

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On Thursday, President Trump announced a plan for reopening the economy that would take into account the fact that different parts of the country are experiencing the coronavirus outbreak differently. Trump’s plan calls for three phases of reopening, based on the severity of the outbreak in each region.

“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Trump said, adding that the guidelines were “based on hard verifiable data.”

The “Opening Up America Again” plan also allows governors to make many of the decisions, in keeping with the president’s stated preference for state autonomy rather than federal mandates.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Victor Garcia contributed to this story.

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