Donald Trump’s nominations have turned out to be a pleasant surprise for some of his biggest conservative critics. That was Joe Scarborough’s take on today’s Morning Joe. From James Mattis at Defense, to John Kelly at DHS, and now to EPA foe Scott Pruitt . . . at EPA, the President-elect has proposed people with strong records and in a number of cases, strong conservative philosophies.

So much so that Scarborough remarked: “How fascinating that the Never Trumpers and the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the Bill Kristols, and all the people who were rightly the most skeptical of Donald Trump during the primary, have to sit back going, wow, I would not have gotten this with Jeb or Marco.”

From the Department of GMTA: my Quick Hit of this morning [composed last night] reads: “James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, and now border-security hawk John Kelly as head of DHS and Scott Pruitt for EPA? I’m guessing that many conservatives who had serious qualms about Trump are feeling a lot better tonight.”

MARK HALPERIN: Who is going to drive policy in this administration in education and EPA and Attorney General and DHS? He’s nominated very sharply ideological activists who Ted Cruz I don’t necessarily think would have had the follow-through to nominate.

. . .

JOE SCARBOROUGH: And Elise, I remember before you were talking, right before the election, you were saying, gee, look at this. Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani. This is scaring me. I think that’s what most people — and maybe some people that ran golf courses were the people that we were joking about would be head of agencies. He’s not gone that direction. You’re not seeing Newt Gingrich. You’re not seeing Rudy Giuliani.

ELISE JORDAN: Ben Carson.

JOE: Ben Carson. But again, like we said, in Ben Carson’s defense, even he says he’s not qualified to do it. So the expectations —

JORDAN: Which is exactly why you appoint someone!

JOE: Exactly. I have a story I’ll tell off-camera about telling somebody I wasn’t ready for something [and they said], well that tells me that you are ready for it. But anyway, but again. How fascinating that the Never Trumpers and the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the Bill Kristols, and all the people that were rightly the most skeptical of Donald Trump during the primary, have to sit back going, wow, I would not have gotten this with Jeb or Marco.