Morning Joe Doubles Down, Repeatedly Dubs John Conyers an ‘Icon’

Nancy Pelosi received near-universal condemnation for her comments on Sunday’s Meet The Press when she praised accused sexual harasser and fellow Democratic House Representative John Conyers as an “icon.” Even CNN’s Chris Cillizza, who is not exactly pro-Republican, called Pelosi’s remarks “catastrophically bad.”

And yet, on Monday’s Morning Joe, co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were inspired to double-down on Pelosi’s comments, repeatedly declaring that Conyers is an “icon” and thanking Pelosi for “speaking the truth.” Neither host was upset by the California congresswoman’s dismissal of the truthfulness of Conyers’s alleged victims.

 

 

Scarborough and Brzezinski’s comments came after a quick replay of the highlights of Pelosi’s performance on Meet The Press:

REP. NANCY PELOSI [D-CA]: We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused -- and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be -- John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women -- Violence Against Women Act, which the left wi- -- right-wing is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don't, I believe he will do the-

CHUCK TODD: [interrupting] Why don’t you? Well how is it that you don’t-

PELOSI: [talking under Todd] I believe that he will -- excuse me, may I finish my sentence?

TODD: Sure, sure.

PELOSI: That he will do the right thing.

(...)

TODD: Do you believe John Conyers’s accusers?

PELOSI: I don't know who they are. Do you? They have not really come forward.

If Morning Joe had any consistency, they would have followed this up by calling the Democratic Party “the party of sexual harassers” or “the party of perverts.” They have certainly done so in the case of Republican politicians expressing any hint of support for Republican senatorial candidate and accused sexual predator Roy Moore.

Instead, Joe’s hosts loved what Pelosi had to say so much that they went way beyond the call of duty to defend her position on Conyers and even pretended to be staunch supporters of due process:

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Look, I think it’s really important that the words “due process” have come up in this conversation. Not that it's possible in every situation, but in this situation -- every situation that we have covered over the past two months is different except for maybe one or two. They all have different dynamics to them. They all have different levels of nasty to them or bad to them. And they all need to be treated differently. And I think this one breaks my heart. It really does.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: How shocking, the word [sic] due process-

BRZEZINSKI: [interjecting] Thank you, Nancy Pelosi. Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH: -actually enraged some people yesterday.

I’m not sure what opinions Scarborough has come across, but I don’t think too many people were enraged by the idea of asking for due process. They were either upset by Pelosi calling Conyers an icon when they also believe he is a serial sexual harasser or they were galled by Pelosi’s clear double standards in not believing Conyers’s alleged victims without question. As Chris Cillizza put it:

And, Pelosi's other defense of Conyers -- "We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused..." -- feels like situational ethics at its absolute worst. Pelosi wasn't defending President Donald Trump or Roy Moore against their accusers even though they, like Conyers, totally denied the accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct made against them.

In fact, in the same interview in which Pelosi defended Conyers, she referred to Moore, the Alabama Republican Senate candidate who stands accused of pursuing relationships with girls as young as 14 when he was in his mid 30s, as a "child molester."

But Morning Joe’s brain trust marched onwards, proceeding to make the case that Conyers needs to resign from Congress not because of his alleged sexual improprieties, but because he showed signs of dementia three years ago:

SCARBOROUGH: There's something bigger here with John Conyers. John Conyers three years ago had articles written about him from people who adored him saying he should step aside because, in 2014 I think it was, he went to the opening of an Arab-American museum. And, when he got up to talk, he was talking about Miles Davis and John Coltrane, rambling around. He’s showing up in pajamas at meetings.

BRZEZINSKI: [softly] How old was [trails off]?

SCARBOROUGH: He, the, people -- somebody in his office needs to step in. He -- they were talking about him having dementia several years ago.

(...)

SCARBOROUGH: When it comes to John Conyers, the guy’s showing up in pajamas, okay? He's, he’s clearly not capable of being a United States congressman anymore.

BRZEZINSKI: [interjecting] But he is an icon.

SCARBOROUGH: People need to step in. Now as far as Nancy Pelosi getting hammered for being an icon, you tell me: What do you call this person before this happened? A guy who was a Korean war veteran? A guy who when he got into Congress as one of only four black members in Congress? A guy who single-handedly started the Congressional Black Caucus? A guy who is responsible for Rosa Parks laying [sic] in state in the United States Capitol. I believe it was the first black woman to ever be afforded that honor. Oh, he was in Selma on that bloody, bloody day so many years ago. I would call that an icon. I would call that an icon. If you're offended by that, if you're offended by Nancy Pelosi calling a man like that an icon, well let me just say that you remind me an awful lot of the bible thumpers I grew up with and a lot like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker back in 1978 or 1979. Yes, he needs to be taken out of Congress. And yes, they need to rip the scab off of whatever they have in the House where they pay sexual harassment things from tax dollars, and they give the member representation, but not the accuser. And, yes, he's obviously a danger to others. He's a danger to himself. He needs to be removed from Congress because he's not capable of being in Congress. And people who love him and people who care for him need to gather around him now and tell him it's time to go home.

BRZEZINSKI: [echoing Joe] To go home.

SCARBOROUGH: But, when he goes home, it's not George H.W. Bush shot out of the skies and into the waters of the Pacific. You know what? Judge the man by his 93 years’ service to America. Judge John Conyers by his 88, 89 years and his service to America and get him out of Congress now.

Scarborough’s odd argument that certain people should solely be judged by the good things they have done in the past while ignoring recent allegations of their moral or political corruption is nothing new. Two months ago, Joe angrily declared that anyone criticizing Sen. McCain for his crucial role in shutting down an ObamaCare repeal vote should “keep [their] mouths shut” mainly because of his past history as a Vietnam veteran.

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However, Brzezinski took this strange line of reasoning even further with Conyers, bizarrely intimating that he and other men “in that age range” are naturally sexually predatory and exhibit behavior that is “hard to explain” because they are “suffering from health problems”:

It's such a good point you make, because when you're talking about men in their late 80s and early 90s, you're talking about people who are suffering from health problems. And I know, I just had one of my closest friends, Diane Smith, over recently. We both recently lost our fathers and we both had that moment where we had to go to our fathers and say: It is time to go home. It's time to go home, you know, and be at home for a while. And the behavior of someone in that age range is just -- it's hard to explain sometimes. And it's very, very difficult to deal with. And it's sort of sick to inject it into this conversation that we're having. I think it minimizes it. And thank you, Nancy Pelosi, for speaking the truth.

Most men do not commit sex crimes, let alone start doing so because of “health problems” or old age. How exactly is it “sick” to criticize an old man for alleged sexual harassment? Should Conyers get a pass due to his age? Or is it the “D” next to his name that makes Joe and Mika so defensive?

Feel free to make up your own mind on that last one.

A full transcript of the segment follows below:

6:30 AM EST

[playing Meet The Press clip]

REP. NANCY PELOSI [D-CA]: We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused -- and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be -- John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women -- Violence Against Women Act, which the left wi- -- right-wing is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don't, I believe he will do the-

CHUCK TODD: [interrupting] Why don’t you? Well how is it that you don’t-

PELOSI: [talking under Todd] I believe that he will -- excuse me, may I finish my sentence?

TODD: Sure, sure.

PELOSI: That he will do the right thing.

(...)

TODD: Do you believe John Conyers’s accusers?

PELOSI: I don't know who they are. Do you? They have not really come forward.

[end clip]

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Look, I think it’s really important that the words “due process” have come up in this conversation. Not that it's possible in every situation, but in this situation -- every situation that we have covered over the past two months is different except for maybe one or two. They all have different dynamics to them. They all have different levels of nasty to them or bad to them. And they all need to be treated differently. And I think this one breaks my heart. It really does.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: How shocking, the word [sic] due process-

BRZEZINSKI: [interjecting] Thank you, Nancy Pelosi. Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH: -actually enraged some people yesterday. Listen, there's something else bigger here and I've ev- -- I’ve heard, even heard conservatives say this about John Conyers -- first of all, I don't understand this slush fund that they have in Congress. I never knew about it. I'm sure you didn't know about it either. It's outrageous. And, we need to get that open, need to know what that's about, and need to know all the accusers. Also, I'm sure, you know, let's just presume that the accuser was treated badly and get that to the side. Let's talk about John Conyers, though. I think Nancy Pelosi got in trouble for calling him iconic? Is that right?

HAROLD FORD JR./JOSH EARNEST: An icon.

SCARBOROUGH: An icon. So, I understand that in these days, in this environment, you're supposed to wipe everything out that anybody’s ever done based on some charges that are put forward. I understand that. That's, that’s the climate we're in right now.

BRZEZINSKI: Especially if they're -- yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: I understand that. I will say this, though. There's something bigger here with John Conyers. John Conyers three years ago had articles written about him from people who adored him saying he should step aside because, in 2014 I think it was, he went to the opening of an Arab-American museum. And, when he got up to talk, he was talking about Miles Davis and John Coltrane, rambling around. He’s showing up in pajamas at meetings.

BRZEZINSKI: [softly] How old was [trails off]?

SCARBOROUGH: He, the, people -- somebody in his office needs to step in. He -- they were talking about him having dementia several years ago. I know we're not supposed to talk about that when it pertains to the President and the fact that the President's skills, mentally, if you look at interviews, seem to have, have-

BRZEZINSKI: Diminished.

SCARBOROUGH: -diminished a great deal. That's objective. And twenty years from now, people are going to say: Well look what [sic] how he talked in '99, look how he's talking now. So, please, save your shock for somebody else. I really don't give a damn what you think about what I said ‘cause it's gonna be said ten years from now. So stop acting shocked. When it comes to John Conyers, the guy’s showing up in pajamas, okay? He's, he’s clearly not capable of being a United States congressman anymore.

BRZEZINSKI: [interjecting] But he is an icon.

SCARBOROUGH: People need to step in. Now as far as Nancy Pelosi getting hammered for being an icon, you tell me: What do you call this person before this happened? A guy who was a Korean war veteran? A guy who when he got into Congress as one of only four black members in Congress? A guy who single-handedly started the Congressional Black Caucus? A guy who is responsible for Rosa Parks laying [sic] in state in the United States Capitol. I believe it was the first black woman to ever be afforded that honor. Oh, he was in Selma on that bloody, bloody day so many years ago. I would call that an icon. I would call that an icon. If you're offended by that, if you're offended by Nancy Pelosi calling a man like that an icon, well let me just say that you remind me an awful lot of the bible thumpers I grew up with and a lot like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker back in 1978 or 1979. Yes, he needs to be taken out of Congress. And yes, they need to rip the scab off of whatever they have in the House where they pay sexual harassment things from tax dollars, and they give the member representation, but not the accuser. And, yes, he's obviously a danger to others. He's a danger to himself. He needs to be removed from Congress because he's not capable of being in Congress. And people who love him and people who care for him need to gather around him now and tell him it's time to go home.

BRZEZINSKI: [echoing Joe] To go home.

SCARBOROUGH: But, when he goes home, it's not George H.W. Bush shot out of the skies and into the waters of the Pacific. You know what? Judge the man by his 93 years’ service to America. Judge John Conyers by his 88, 89 years and his service to America and get him out of Congress now. And [stops].

BRZEZINSKI: It's such a good point you make, because when you're talking about men in their late 80s and early 90s, you're talking about people who are suffering from health problems. And I know, I just had one of my closest friends, Diane Smith, over recently. We both recently lost our fathers and we both had that moment where we had to go to our fathers and say: It is time to go home. It's time to go home, you know, and be at home for a while. And the behavior of someone in that age range is just -- it's hard to explain sometimes. And it's very, very difficult to deal with. And it's sort of sick to inject it into this conversation that we're having. I think it minimizes it. And thank you, Nancy Pelosi, for speaking the truth. We'll be right back.         

(...)


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