Mika Brzezinski described Pompeo with a homophobic word. Her non-apology didn't help.
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “wannabe dictator’s butt-boy” during a segment of “Morning Joe” Wednesday.
The remark related to a less-than-impassioned response from Pompeo about the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Pompeo ducked questions in a “Fox & Friends” interview about Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the killing.
“I understand that Donald Trump doesn’t care,” Brzezinski said to host Joe Scarborough. Moments earlier, Scarborough spoke to a panel that included Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., who labeled Trump’s motivation to ignore the inculpatory evidence against the crown prince financially based.
“But why doesn’t Mike Pompeo care right now? Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard when he appeared on Fox & Friends - is that a patriot speaking?” Brzezinski continued, “Or a wannabe dictator’s butt-boy? I’m dead serious, I’m asking: are these the words of a patriot?”
The network tried to bleep out the insult; representatives declined to comment on whether it was omitted from the closed captioning.
But MSNBC was too slow. And Brzezinski’s Twitter condemnation came quickly.
Some of her more than 850,000 Twitter followers found the language disturbing. Others called the epithet “despicable.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “Homophobic insults of the kind vomited out this morning by morningmika have become a completely common and acceptable component of anti-Trump discourse, starting from the endless Trump/Putin gay insinuations to trash like this.”
Photographer and writer G.E. Anderson suggested other phrasing: “I was with you, morningmika, right up to the ‘butt boy’ comment. Try ‘toadie’ or ‘lackey’ or ‘stool pigeon’ or ‘ass kisser,’ or ‘traitor,’ but maybe don’t equate homosexuality with Mike Pompeo carrying water for the murderous regime in Saudi Arabia.”
Even Donald Trump Jr. swooped in, not to champion gay rights, but to make a comparison with comedian Kevin Hart, who was recently cut as Oscars host after his homophobic tweets resurfaced.
Brzezinski’s response, through Twitter, did not satisfy the critics.
“Totally agree with you -SUPER BAD choice of words . I should have said “water boy” … like for football teams or something like that. apologize to SenatorDurbin too! SO SORRY!” she tweeted in response to Anderson.
The tweet was attacked from multiple angles.
“Accepting apologies is important. We all fail. But I don’t see that you’ve actually apologized to gays?” said one.
“This is bad. Will require more from Brzezinski than a Twitterpology,” tweeted David Folkenflik, a media correspondent for NPR.
MSNBC declined to comment on any action it may take. The network stood behind host Joy Reid earlier this year after she apologized for controversial years-old blog posts.