Tuesday’s Morning Joe opened with sixteen solid minutes of discussion about the most pressing news story of the day – President Trump calling Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” yesterday at a ceremony honoring Navajo World War II veterans. The show’s liberal panelists not only wholeheartedly swallowed Warren’s argument that the word “Pocahontas” is a racial slur, but also came up with an elaborate theory that Trump was not simply making fun of Warren, but actually trying to send a “coded” appeal to the “white nationalist,” “racist elements” of his base. Mika Brzezinski also personally attacked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for “shill[ing]” for Trump’s “racism” and “bigotry” and suggested that she was a bad mother who shouldn’t be able to face her children.
The broadcast opened with a clip of Trump making his “Pocahontas” remarks. Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Brzezinski made the pretense of being flabbergasted at the authenticity of the clip, joking that it must be an “SNL skit.” NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt was introduced onto the show and tried to offer a relatively reasonable take on Trump’s comments, correctly mentioning that Trump’s insult was obviously just directed at Warren:
BRZEZINSKI: What the heck was the reaction on Capitol Hill?
HUNT: To Pocahontas, specifically?
HUNT: Uh [laughs], well, I think many of them took it in stride as per usual. I think there is a sense that this president is regularly insulting to people. It's easier to brush it off when it's aimed at one person instead of an entire group of people, and clearly I think the context, the context of the room and, and, and the people who were supposed to have been honored at this ceremony made this something that was particularly troubling for the couple of people that I talked to about it as I was leaving the building last night.
As the segment proceeded, all of the other panelists, clearly inspired by Warren’s response to Trump, disregarded Hunt’s point and charged ahead with their claims that Trump was trying to resurrect a new KKK with only one word:
[playing clip of Sen. Warren]
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: [sighs] It is deeply unfortunate that the President of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur. Look, Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he's gonna shut me up with it. It hadn’t worked in the past. It is not gonna work in the future.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, he does. And Eddie, uh, I don't think this is about Elizabeth Warren any more than I think his battle against NFL players is about Colin Kaepernick. It's not. It's about anybody who’s not a white Anglo-Saxon protestant. They have -- everything’s coded. So, oh, we’ve got Native Americans here. Well, instead of praising Native Americans, because they don’t want my -- the most racist elements of my base think I’m going to go soft, I’m gonna make a racial, uh, joke,-
EDDIE GLAUDE JR.: Absolutely.
SCARBOROUGH: -uh, and, and, and, and sort of hop the balloon so anybody doesn't think I'm not associated with the Steve Bannon wing and the white nationalist wing of, of this movement-
BRZEZINSKI: Do you think it’s that thought out?
SCARBOROUGH: Of course it is.
GLAUDE: [trying to cut in] I think so because when you [stops].
SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting] Of course it is, because he would not joke that way if it were a group of white soldiers. He just wouldn't. And it -- and I’m, you know, I'm the last to go out and throw the race card down on the table, but it is so obvious. He attacks the NFL, because -- and, and we saw it also with the UCLA players. It's always sort of poking and prodding and making jokes-
SCARBOROUGH: -and making attacks at the expense of people who are not white.
GLAUDE: The Pocahontas claim wasn't actually the worst thing that happened in that thi-, in that scene.
GLAUDE: The scene was actually made worse by the portrait of Andrew Jackson-
BRZEZINSKI: Oh my god.
GLAUDE: -behind the event. The man who signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, responsible for the Trail of Tears, who used the skin of Indians for whips. I mean, so this is part of-
BRZEZINSKI: This is incredible.
GLAUDE: -a kind of theater in some ways – the theater of bigotry that's speaking directly, as Joe said, to his base.
SCARBOROUGH: And so, the takeaway from this, before we go into the top news story of the day, the takeaway from this I think, Elise, really is that Donald Trump continues to play to his lowest base, the, the, the worst angels among all Americans and if -- even if you’re in a ceremony or an event and you’re not white, then chances are good he’s going to find a way to insult you. Not to insult you specifically, but to just remind his white nationalist base, [smacks lips] still with you here.
In spite of Scarborough’s promise that they would move on to the “top news story of the day,” the liberal pundits continued to harp on different angles of how terrible it was for Trump to call Warren “Pocahontas.” Eventually, they did go on to play a couple of clips of Sarah Huckabee Sanders defending Trump’s remarks in yesterday’s White House Press Briefing. Sanders clearly and succinctly pointed out that “Pocahontas” is not a racial slur and made the case that the President was drawing attention to and mocking Warren’s dubious past claims to be Native American, not broadly generalizing about any racial group.
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Nevertheless, Brzezinksi was incensed by Sanders’s defense of Trump and personally attacked the Press Secretary both as a human being and a mother:
BRZEZINSKI: What, what won't she, what won’t she -- seriously-.
SCARBOROUGH: [laughing, interrupting] Nobody’s talking about that? What do you mean? We talked about that for two years.
BRZEZINSKI: Is there -- what -- when is there gonna be a moment where she actually says the President misspoke?
SCARBOROUGH: Wasn’t there a-.
BRZEZINSKI: What's wrong with her? Why does she do that job? How can she look in the mirror every day and say: I am doing the right thing for the American people. Because you are not. You are not. This is Kellyanne Conway territory. This is horrible. I'm not sorry. Go ahead, Joe.
BRZEZINSKI: That is unbelievable. That -- this is our president and that is the spokesperson for the President of the United States-
SCARBOROUGH: It is.
BRZEZINSKI: -sitting there, defending his racism, his bigoted language, his stupidity.
This is where we are.
SCARBOROUGH: It is.
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, we've reversed roles.
SCARBOROUGH: It's good. Can I go?
SCARBOROUGH: Whew. Willie-.
BRZEZINSKI: It's sick. It’s sick. The whole thing’s sick. The whole relationship is sick in there.
ELISE JORDAN: It's enabling. And I wonder who-.
BRZEZINSKI: She's taken the oath. I don't know how you do it. You are raising three children. Stop.
Four years ago, back when the NRA made an ad that referenced President Obama’s kids to make a political point about gun control, Brzezinski went ballistic, specifically condemning the mentioning of Obama’s children. According to Politico:
“What’s wrong with these people, Mika? What’s wrong with these people?” Joe Scarborough, host of “Morning Joe,” asked co-host Mika Brzezinski in disbelief.
“They are out of step, out of the mainstream, totally out of sync with what’s going on in our society, and quite frankly after seeing that, I think some of the people who run that thing are sick,” Brzezinski said. “I really do. I think they are sick in the head.
“And I’m serious,” she continued. “I am embarrassed right now.”
Later, replaying the ad, Brzezinski added, “It may disgust you. It terrifies me.”
By Morning Joe's own standards, Brzezinski is “sick,” terrifying, embarrassing, and disgusting for bringing up Sanders’s kids in the way that she did Tuesday morning.
Brzezinski wasn’t finished with going after women who work in the White House, however:
BRZEZINSKI: Speaking of women, the women in the White House are a sorry example of where we should be. It is so sad to watch what is happening with the women in the White House. And Sarah Huckabee Sanders, if I was the White House press secretary and for some, for some forsaken reason I had lasted until this point and that happened, I'd be like: John Kelly, this one's yours. You’re doing the briefing today. How do you think John Kelly woulda handled the briefing? Do you think he would have lied? Do you think he would have said the things that you said, Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Do you think he would have actually defended that language? Do you think he really would have allowed that to happen?
SCARBOROUGH: Alright. So, uh, Willie-.
BRZEZINSKI: Because this is what I'm saying: I cannot watch a woman go out there and shill for this president and shill for his racism and his bigotry. It is so painful. We do not need this.
What’s really painful to watch is Morning Joe’s daily display of relentless hypocrisy, hysterical conspiracy theorizing, and supercilious moralizing.
That’s quite an impressive combination, to say the least.