Mika Brzezinski – Photo: MSNBC, via Facebook.
President Trump attacked one of his favorite nemeses, Mika Brzezinski, after the co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe used a slur that some people characterized as homophobic to insult Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“If it was a Conservative that said what ‘crazed’ Mike Brzezinski stated on her show yesterday, using a certain horrible term, that person would be banned permanently from television,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “She will probably be given a pass, despite their terrible ratings.”
He also commended Richard Grenell, the openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Germany, for calling out Brzezinski for her words.
On Wednesday’s show, Brzezinski had been talking about an interview that Pompeo gave to Fox & Friends on Wednesday, during which he evaded questions on how the Trump administration would deal with Saudi Arabia in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in Istanbul, Turkey, in October.
Despite evidence that links Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and several underlings to Khashoggi’s murder — a sentiment echoed by the U.S. Senate, which unanimously voted to hold the Crown Prince responsible for it earlier today — the Trump administration, and Pompeo in particular, have insisted that there is no evidence for such a claim.
In the interview, Pompeo noted that Saudi Arabia has been a longtime ally of the United States and an essential player in ensuring the stability of the Middle East while also serving as a buffer against Iran.
“I understand that Donald Trump doesn’t care,” Brzezinski said. “He doesn’t care. But why doesn’t Mike Pompeo care right now? Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard when he appeared on — is that a patriot speaking? Or a wannabe dictator’s butt-boy?”
MSNBC tried to cut Brzezinski’s audio, but was too late.
Brzezinski’s comments were almost immediately condemned by those who saw it as a homophobic slur, especially on social media.
Several commenters also accused liberals of applying a double-standard, in which conservative anti-gay comments are condemned while those made by liberals are condoned. A few noted that MSNBC has employed other on-air personalities with a history of making anti-gay comments.
As the Daily Mail notes, “butt-boy” has historically been used to refer to someone who is akin to a “brown-noser,” “yes man” or other sycophant. But in more recent years, it has also been interpreted to be a derogatory term aimed against the sexually submissive partner in a gay relationship.
Brzezinski issued an apology, saying via Twitter that it was a “SUPER BAD choice of words,” adding: “I should have said ‘water boy'” while also apologizing to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who was appearing on the show.
Grenell chimed in on the debate over the host’s comments, arguing that she hadn’t gone far enough in apologizing to the gay community.
“Accepting apologies is important. We all fail. But I don’t see that you’ve actually apologized to gays? Your words demean, mock and therefore try to control whole groups by minimizing our humanity,” Grenell tweeted.
This isn’t the first time that Brzezinski has butted heads with the president. At one time, she and her co-host and husband Joe Scarborough had a good working relationship with Trump when he was a candidate for the presidency. But the relationship frayed as the couple became more critical of the president.
In June 2017, Trump took to Twitter to accuse “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” of showing up to his Mar-a-Lago club in late 2016 while “bleeding badly from a face-lift” and begging to join him for New Year’s Eve. Both Scarborough and Brzezinski denied the president’s claims.
Although Trump’s comments inspired backlash and sparked accusations of misogyny, the president never apologized.