Morning Joe On Roy Moore Molestation Accusations: GOP ‘Divided Over The Question of Pedophilia’

Friday’s Morning Joe was almost entirely focused on recent allegations reported by The Washington Post that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore molested a 14 year-old girl in 1979. The entire panel took the claims at face value and lambasted Republicans for accompanying their condemnations of Moore’s alleged sexual crimes with the qualification "if true." The liberal pundits even tried to smear the entire Republican Party as being “divided over the question of pedophilia.”

 

 

In one representative segment from the show’s second hour, guest host Nicolle Wallace and USA Today Senior Politics and White House reporter Heidi Przybyla expressed their joint conclusion that Roy Moore was a “pedophile” that the national-level GOP was “cast[ing] their lot with”:

WALLACE: Heidi Przybyla, how are we at a place where it's worse to have a Democrat than a pedophile in the U.S. Senate?

PRZYBYLA: You know, it would seem that, Nicolle, the evidence is in, and these lawmakers are still saying “if true.” So they have chosen, it appears, to, again, disbelieve the women. And, as a matter of fact, it is too late most likely to get Roy Moore off the ballot. So the decision that seems to be being made that we’re seeing here in real time, both at the local party level and to a certain extent at the national level, is to cast their lot with Roy Moore. And just this morning, as a matter of fact, I saw Roy Moore actually fundraising off of this, casting himself as the victim of a vicious smear campaign. So I think we have every indication here of what route is going to be taken, and that the party is gonna give itself a lot of leeway to just say it’s -- this is a “he said, she said,” knowing that it is -- this is a critical, critical race. Why? Because right now there are only really two seats that Democrats could put in play, in Nevada and Arizona. If this goes to a Democrat, it could actually tip the balance of the Senate. So it seems they are gonna be all-in with Roy Moore, at least at this point, unless Moore comes out. But right now, it's easy to do that ‘cause they can just disbelieve the women.

WALLACE: And let's not paint all the Republicans with such a broad brush. National Review has an editorial out this morning saying Roy should drop out. I think that all those Republicans that we showed intended to come out and say the right thing and intended to say the decent thing. But, just -- in this climate, once a woman puts her name on the record in a story, it is true. That is where we are. So by saying -- I mean, these were named women in this story and they're the victims, not Roy Moore of fake media.

Przybyla’s characterization of the national party as somehow supporting what Moore allegedly did contradicted the multiple clips that Morning Joe itself played just minutes before of multiple Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, Luther Strange, Mike Lee, Bob Corker, and Jeff Flake, all calling Moore’s purported actions disturbing and/or disqualifying. So, who precisely at the national political level has said that it would be “worse to have a Democrat than a pedophile in the U.S. Senate?” No one, apparently. (Not to mention that Sen. John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Gov. John Kasich have all called for Moore to step down based on the accusations alone).

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What the liberal panelists were clearly most upset with was that not enough Republicans just “listened and believed” to the female accuser even though liberal journos themselves have almost never upheld such a standard with Democratic politicians like President Bill Clinton. Wallace continued the segment by asking Mark McKinnon, former political advisor to George W. Bush, where he thought the Republican Party “need[ed] to go” in response to the Moore allegations. McKinnon responded that he would prefer to take Sen. McCain’s tack and just accept any accusations of sexual misconduct as true without further investigation:

MCKINNON: Well, where John McCain has gone.

WALLACE: Right.

MCKINNON: God bless John McCain. I mean, the Grand Old Party has clawed its way to the bottom now. We've become a party of Donald Trump and Roy Moore. And you -- I think-

WALLACE: [interrupting] You sure we're at the bottom?

MCKINNON: [laughs] I don't know how we go-

WALLACE: ‘Cause I'm gonna write it down.

MCKINNON: -much lower. But, I think what's definitely gonna happen in Alabama is Roy Moore is not gonna -- he’s not gonna get off the ballot. I mean, he's gonna run. So he's either gonna win or they’re gonna split the ballot with a write-in and the Democrat will win. So that's the outcome of this Alabama situation.

McKinnon and MSNBC/NBC national affairs analyst John Heilemann then went on a bit of a tangent to briefly discuss the possibility of Republican voters breaking away from Trump in 2020 to support an independent presidential ticket, which Heilemann was somewhat skeptical of. Heilemann then brought the conversation back to the Moore allegations by riffing on Przybyla’s comments and setting up Republican strategist Susan Del Percio with the following insanely loaded claim:

Right now, your party [...] seems to be divided over the question of pedophilia by its standard bearer in the Alabama Senate race. So, just explain to me how your party can be a plausible party in American life if there is a question over whether a pedophile can be the standard bearer for one of the hundred seats in the United States Senate.

Instead of defending her party and pointing out that no one but a couple of unknown local Alabama politicians have in any way expressed positive sentiments towards a pedophile being a “standard bearer” in the Senate, Del Percio just accepted Heilemann’s framing without any objection:

Simply put, they cannot. And it will start with the first thing -- I think we have to see Senator McConnell come out and say: I will no longer fund Roy Moore. Because I said earlier last hour that we -- you know, the question should be posed: Do you believe these women? Now I think slightly different. It's saying: Are you calling these women liars? Because really, Nicolle was right in her intro. These women, they put their name [sic] out there. They are to be believed. So, now it's up to those senators. Do you want to call them a liar [sic]? If not, then call out Roy Moore.

During the course of the broadcast, not a single sentiment about waiting for all the facts to come out was expressed.

Are there still any journalists left at MSNBC?

For more context on the Moore-related segments, see the partial transcript below:

6:07 AM EST

NICOLLE WALLACE: It's gonna test conservative media too because the first conservative media outlet to sorta circle around him was Breitbart. And they said: Of all the allegations, the only one that would be illegal would be molesting a 14-year-old. You saw on Fox News he had a lot of defenders. So this is gonna test two things. One, sorta the depths and depravity of conservative media outlets that defend someone like Roy Moore, who is now known to be a pedophile, unless you don't believe the women who 30 years later put their names on a story that has to be re-living some of their worst moments. And two, it's going to test whether or not this toxic slogan of “fake media” has made people in a,-

JOHN HEILEMANN [NBC/MSNBC, NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST]: [interjecting] “Fake news” [inaudible].

WALLACE: -“fake news,” has made people immune to facts.

MIKE BARNICLE: Well, you have a, you have a uniquely receptive audience in the state of Alabama. So -- and this is gonna be a real test for that, I believe.

(...)

7:04 AM

WALLACE: Heidi Przybyla, how are we at a place where it's worse to have a Democrat than a pedophile in the U.S. Senate?

HEIDI PRZYBYLA [USA TODAY, SENIOR POLITICS/WH REPORTER]: You know, it would seem that, Nicolle, the evidence is in, and these lawmakers are still saying “if true.” So they have chosen, it appears, to, again, disbelieve the women. And, as a matter of fact, it is too late most likely to get Roy Moore off the ballot. So the decision that seems to be being made that we’re seeing here in real time, both at the local party level and to a certain extent at the national level, is to cast their lot with Roy Moore. And just this morning, as a matter of fact, I saw Roy Moore actually fundraising off of this, casting himself as the victim of a vicious smear campaign. So I think we have every indication here of what route is going to be taken, and that the party is gonna give itself a lot of leeway to just say it’s -- this is a “he said, she said,” knowing that it is -- this is a critical, critical race. Why? Because right now there are only really two seats that Democrats could put in play, in Nevada and Arizona. If this goes to a Democrat, it could actually tip the balance of the Senate. So it seems they are gonna be all-in with Roy Moore, at least at this point, unless Moore comes out. But right now, it's easy to do that ‘cause they can just disbelieve the women.

WALLACE: And let's not paint all the Republicans with such a broad brush. National Review has an editorial out this morning saying Roy should drop out. I think that all those Republicans that we showed intended to come out and say the right thing and intended to say the decent thing. But, just -- in this climate, once a woman puts her name on the record in a story, it is true. That is where we are. So by saying -- I mean, these were named women in this story and they're the victims, not Roy Moore of fake media. But where do you think the Republican Party needs to go here?    

MARK MCKINNON [GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER ADVISOR]: Well, where John McCain has gone.

WALLACE: Right.

MCKINNON: God bless John McCain. I mean, the Grand Old Party has clawed its way to the bottom now. We've become a party of Donald Trump and Roy Moore. And you -- I think-

WALLACE: [interrupting] You sure we're at the bottom?

MCKINNON: [laughs] I don't know how we go-

WALLACE: ‘Cause I'm gonna write it down.

MCKINNON: - much lower. But, I think what's definitely gonna happen in Alabama is Roy Moore is not gonna -- he’s not gonna get off the ballot. I mean, he's gonna run. So he's either gonna win or they’re gonna split the ballot with a write-in and the Democrat will win. So that's the outcome of this Alabama situation.

(...)

7:07 AM

HEILEMANN: Right now, your party is -- seems to be divided over the question of pedophilia by its standard bearer in the Alabama Senate race. So, just explain to me how your party can be a plausible party-

SUSAN DEL PERCIO [REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST]: They can’t.

HEILEMANN: -in American life if there is a question over whether a pedophile can be the standard bearer for one of the hundred seats in the United States Senate.

DEL PERCIO: Simply put, they cannot. And it will start with the first thing -- I think we have to see Senator McConnell come out and say: I will no longer fund Roy Moore. Because I said earlier last hour that we -- you know, the question should be posed: Do you believe these women? Now I think slightly different. It's saying: Are you calling these women liars? Because really, Nicolle was right in her intro. These women, they put their name [sic] out there. They are to be believed. So, now it's up to those senators. Do you want to call them a liar [sic]? If not, then call out Roy Moore.

DONNY DEUTSCH: [cutting in] I wanna understand that point because this is, I think, the biggest point of the show, way beyond politics. And I want to hear, again, from, and -- Nicolle, you were so passionate and articulate in the first hour and I want to hear from Heidi. Explain to men, so it's not a “he said, she said,” it’s a “she said,” that -- what it's like when a woman does come forward, what she is putting on the line -- ‘cause I don't think the average guy, they go: Oh, well, she said that; anybody could say anything. I don't think the average guy understands the point that you were really making, that when a woman does come forward, almost that in and of itself, when four of them do -- and, you know, Heidi, please, articulate to any man out there that doesn't understand why that's not an allegation at that point, because what they're putting on the line.

PRZYBYLA: Well, because they're understanding what is gonna happen to their reputation and how their reputation -- critics will try and tear apart everything about them. And, as a matter of fact, apparently, at least one of these women preemptively put information out there about herself knowing that this is what would happen to her and knowing all these years that ultimately this would what would -- this is what would happen to her. But also, at this point, at this -- realizing this is a critical point for the country and that she just couldn't keep it inside anymore, but knowing that, you know, as a person, and in terms of her family, that they might suffer, and that in -- is in a personal sense, that she has no reason to want to put herself out there like that to be torn apart and, and, and put in the middle of a big political fight.

WALLACE: Yeah, let me just say, listen, I have never been in this circumstance, but I have covered the Cosby accusers, we've all lived through the Weinstein accusers, and when you see these -- there is no glory for a woman. I mean, I mean, it is, it is re-living the most humiliating, the most debasing moments, or days, or hours of a woman's life to put this in the newspaper attached to her name. And for -- and as Heidi says, the story is an exquisite piece of journalism because whoever did these interviews got these women to understand not just the risk they were taking to their own reputations, the risk they were taking that they wouldn't be believed -- I mean, I think to re-traumatize the women is to say: “If true.” To re-traumatize the women is to say: If this costs him the election. I mean, yes it's true, because no woman lies about being sexually molested as a 14-year-old, or being taken advantage of -- and it was shocking-

[inaudible crosstalk]

DEUTSCH: [interrupting] [inaudible] -these are women not even for money or lawsuits.

DEL PERCIO: As a matter of fact, they only have something to lose. These are women coming from small communities. These are not movie stars.

MCKINNON: Yeah.

WALLACE: Right.

DEL PERCIO: These are not -- these are people who have --

DEUTSCH: And it’s not one.

DEL PERCIO: -are going to see -- go to the supermarket every day. Their children, some of their children are in school. These are real risks that they're putting out. This is beyond the-

MCKINNON: Especially in a place like Alabama.

DEL PERCIO: Exactly. This is -- against Roy Moore.

WALLACE: Right, right, and, and, and, not to not to take anything away, the actresses that came out were brave and brilliant and they’re our heroes. But Gwyneth Paltrow has an Oscar and a job and a career and a whole lot of wealth. The victims in this story, and I'm sure she would agree and most famous women that went out and did this and took great risk and grave risk to their careers would agree.

DEUTSCH: Even then it took 30 years.

WALLACE: It is, it is harder when you, when you have nothing to gain and everything to lose. And then to see people on television say: Oh, “if true.” It's true.

MCKINNON: Or that it would happen a long time ago and [trails off].

DEL PERCIO: Even worse.

(...)

7:37 AM

WALLACE: I want to ask you though, does he [Bannon] view any of these things as his personal failings? I mean, does he take any responsibility for Roy Moore? That was his hand-picked candidate .

JEREMY PETERS [NYT, REPORTER]: I haven’t heard him say anything putting any distance between him and Roy Moore and I think Steve has to answer for that. I think-

WALLACE: I think the Mercers have to answer for that–got a pedophile that they funded.

ANA MARIE COX: Well last night, he just conflated it with the Access Hollywood tape and said this is some kind of coincidence that The Washington Post broke both of these stories. I mean, if he -- it’s no more a coincidence than The Washington Post is a good newspaper, right? I mean, like of good reporters. So he's not even not just not taking responsibility, but he’s actively continuing to support and provide cover.

(...)


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