On Thursday, the panel on MSNBC’s Morning Joe dog piled author Michael Wolff for propagating an unfounded rumor that President Trump had been having an affair with his ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley. The confrontation became so heated that the show’s co-anchor Mika Brzezinski eventually cut the interview short and asked Wolff to leave.
Michael Wolff became a media fixation in January upon publishing his anti-Trump book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Following the controversial book’s release, he appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, where he claimed that President Trump was having an affair. Although he did not identify the President’s supposed mistress in the book, readers have surmised that he was subtly pointing to Haley, whom the book describes as having spent considerable time alone with Trump aboard Air Force One. Ambassador Haley has soundly denied this rumor.
After a brief discussion about Mark Corallo, the spokesman for the President’s legal team during the 2016 election, political strategist Susan Del Percio turned the conversation on the Morning Joe set to the issue of Wolff’s the allegations about Haley: “After a lot of rumors came out, it was speculation that you meant Nikki Haley and you said she's embraced it.”
Del Percio asked whether Wolff found it inappropriate to “go after her without any evidence, without any facts. It just seems that is so irresponsible.” Wolff denied that he’d gone after Haley. “Certainly what I meant was I found it puzzling that she would deny something she was not accused of.”
Mika Brzezinski then joined the fray, attacking not just the allegation but the entirety of Wolff’s book: “Let’s put this next question on the entire credibility of your book, which was written really quickly.” “Excuse me?” asked a perturbed Wolff. “Your book,” she snapped. “Let’s put it on this next question. Do you regret inferring anything about Nikki Haley?”
Wolff once again denied having implied anything about Haley, which led to a brief back-and-forth in which Brzezinski repeatedly leveled the same accusation and Wolff continuously denied it.
Finally, Brzezinski lost her patience: “Are you kidding? You're on the set of Morning Joe. We don't BS here.”
When Wolff responded with a request that Brzezinski read him the language of the quote she had been referring to, she abruptly ended the segment.
The interview was a far cry from Morning Joe’s previous coverage of Wolff’s book. In early January, Scarborough vehemently defended Fire and Fury against critics. “Through the weekend you would find somebody who’d say, ‘Oh, that's not true,’ as if that’s going to discredit the entire book,” he reasoned. “...When the truth is, we all know the portrait painted by Michael Wolff’s book is deadly accurate.”
At the time, Brzezinski was in full agreement. “If it rings true, it is true,” she quipped.
Curiously, on Thursday, Scarborough raised no objection when his co-host asserted that the credibility of Wolff’s entire book rested on the veracity of his claims about Nikki Haley.