For the third day in a row, the cast of MSNBC's Morning Joe used the situation surrounding Representative Illhan Omar's tweets to focus on the real story: Republican hypocrisy.
The context for the segment was an amendment House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy introduced to a resolution ceasing aid to the Saudi coalition in the Yemeni Civil War. McCarthy's amendment passed 424-0, condemned the rise in anti-Semitism and attempts to delegitimize Israel's right to exist.
After giving context, Morning Joe played a clip of McCarthy in an interview with Fox's Harris Faulkner where he responded to criticism of a tweet he posted before the election. McCarthy offered a common sense explanation: it was election season and he was talking about Democrats and their big donors, but Morning Joe wasn't buying it.
Co-host Joe Scarborough bypassed the idea that Republicans might not agree with the politics of George Soros, Tom Steyer, or Michael Bloomberg and falsely claimed that what McCarthy actually said was, "Don't let three Jews buy the election."
Fellow co-host Mika Brzezinski stated that McCarthy must have deleted the tweet because, "he must have finally realized something was wrong with it as Tom Steyer, George Soros, and other prominent Democrats were being target by pipe bombs." McCarthy's spokesman's explanation to The San Francisco Chronicle that he took it down in the sensitivity of the moment was taken by Brzezinski as an acknowledgement that "it was wrong."
MSNBC political correspondent Heidi Przybyla said that the "the parallel here is striking," saying that McCarthy's tweet with specific individual left-wing billionaires and Omar's tweet saying that politicians are paid to support Israel were essentially the same. She then noted that Democrats believe the difference between Omar and some of President Trump's more infamous tweets is that Omar "apologized and apologized immediately."
Local Jewish leaders in Minnesota were "very troubled" after meeting with her after her first anti-Semitic tweets . In addition to taking swipes at fossil fuels and the National Rifle Association in her supposed unequivocal apology, she is now fundraising off the matter. Likewise, Morning Joe failed to mention those details, instead keeping their focus on smearing the GOP.
Here is a transcript of the February 14 show:
6:20 AM ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Mika, the billionaires, he picked out three Jews.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Right
SCARBOROUGH: He said -- let's put the tweet back up again. I mean, the tweet is saying with a picture of George Soros, an ominous looking picture of George Soros, Kevin McCarthy said, “Don't let three Jews buy the election.” Could we have a House resolution condemning that? Could we have a Senate resolution condemning that tweet, that now the person running the Republican Party in the House of Representatives put out a tweet, “don't let Jews buy the midterm election.” Because that's what he said.
BRZEZINSKI: And it's beyond hypocrisy on a whole new level driven by hate. Heidi, the tweet that McCarthy deleted the next day, so he must have finally realized something was wrong with it came as Tom Steyer, George Soros and other prominent Democrats were being targeted by pipe bombs. Remember that? The “San Francisco Chronicle” asked McCarthy’s spokesman was deleted if the congressman believed there was nothing wrong and the paper was directed to a statement issued at the time referencing the sensitivity of the political climate, A.K.A, they did think it was wrong and took it down, but whatever. Heidi, you spend a lot of time on Capitol Hill, you talk to these Republicans off camera, off record, how do they bring this together, the fact that they will be, you know, staunchly defensive about a tweet by a Democratic Congresswoman and yet stand by this President's racism.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA: Well, they don't, is the answer and the parallel here is striking, because it's not just anti-Semitic trope, but it's the exact same anti-Semitic trope in terms of tying Jews to money, in terms of the tweet that the President himself put out with the star of David and Clinton sitting atop a pile of cash., but if you talk to members of congress, Democrats, they say the big difference here is that Representative Omar apologized and apologized immediately for this. But this should be a red light to some of these freshmen Democrats, frankly, because this is the second time in almost as many weeks that we've seen one of them be piled on for mis-statements or controversial statements and that they now instead of Nancy Pelosi are going to be the bullseye for the Republicans who really want to use some of these cultural issues to stir up their base. And this will not be the last time unless some of these members realize that they are now serving in Congress and they need to be careful of what they put out into social media and into the Twitters-sphere because that will be used against them and it will used against their entire. The base doesn't frankly care. I don't know how aware they are of the hypocrisy and the statements that have come from those on their side of the aisle, but it can be used to great effect against the Democrats.