Brzezinski: Franken Accuser a "Playboy Model Who Goes On Hannity, Who Voted For Trump"

|

On Friday's Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski, fiance of host Joe Scarborough, expressed how "worried" she is about women sexually harassed in the workplace but said some should not be believed in an extended rant on the resignation of Sen. Al Franken. (Read the full transcript below.)

"I have an incredibly uneasy feeling about this entire story," Brzezinski began her long rant.

"I'm worried for women, I'm concerned about women who are legitimately sexually harassed in the workplace across America and where this is taking us," she said.





Brzezinski also noted that Franken should be recognized for "the work that he's done for women," citing legislation he sponsored for domestic violence.

"I feel like we are, we’re just -- we've got a machine gun out, and we're just, you know, going around the room with every man that perhaps we don't like politically," she said.

However, Brzezinski lamented that in the '#MeToo environment' "you must always just believe the women."

"I'm just wondering if all women need to be believed. And I'm concerned that we are being the judge, the jury, and the cops here and so did Senate Democrats getting ahead of their skis," Brzezinski said.

"And, trust me, Kirsten Gillibrand, I want you to run for president, but you gotta keep it real," the MSNBC host advised.

Brzezinski questioned the honesty of Franken's accusers, going as far as to use the language "if it happened." A scared Brzezinski agreed with a panelist, Bari Weiss, who said even asking "if it happened" is "dangerous."

"That's if it happened. Am I allowed to say that?" she asked.

"He's denying that it happened," the Morning Joe panelist responded.

"Right. So am I allowed to say “if it happened,” or should we just assume it did?" Mika said.

Brzezinski expressed some doubt on "performer" Leeann Tweeden, the woman whose breasts were grabbed in the infamous picture of Franken, and if she should be taken seriously because "Playboy model who goes on Hannity, who voted for Trump."

Brzezinski said, "So I'm surprised that you think a comedian’s picture of a performer, Playboy model who goes on Hannity, who voted for Trump -- um, you know, I see some politics there, but I haven't brought that up every step of the way because, of course, in this “me too” environment, you must always just believe the women. And I think that there's a lot of reasons why we need to look at the women seriously and believe them, and in many cases -- like, for example, I spoke to accusers in Mark Halperin, which, to which he admits a lot of what he's accused of doing. I spoke to them. I believe them. I'm just wondering if all women need to be believed. And I'm concerned that we are being the judge, the jury, and the cops here and so did Senate Democrats getting ahead of their skis. And, trust me, Kirsten Gillibrand, I want you to run for president, but you gotta keep it real."

Washington Post scribe David Ignatius expressed his disappointed in Franken's resignation and said, given what is going on, "he just got caught up in something"

"It was poignant to watch Al Franken, who in many ways has been a hardworking, decent legislator, who was a classmate of mine in college, this is a person I’ve known for many years, uh, see his political career shatter that way," the columnist said.

"But, when you look at the fundamentals of what's going on, you’d, you’d have to say: He’s, he just got caught up in something," he said.

"I don't hear a lot of people saying: Stop this right now, it's just gone too far. I'm not hearing that at all," he added.

"No, I, I don't disagree, and I'm very torn apart by it," Brzezinski said. "But I, I feel that to just be on one side of all of these stories sometimes is very dangerous."

Transcript, via Newsbusters:

BRZEZINSKI: I’m worried for women, I'm concerned about women who are legitimately sexually harassed in the workplace across America and where this is taking us. Ruth Marcus says it one way. She tackles the issue in her P-, Washington Post column and she says: “Was Al Franken's punishment fair?” And she writes, in part, this: “There's no doubt, in the case of Al Franken, that Democrats are better off with the Minnesota senator gone. There's more doubt about whether justice was done. The political calculus is simple: Franken had to go. With the grotesque picture of him groping, or pretending to grope, the breasts of a fellow USO performer, he would have been a nonstop distraction, muddling Democrats' case against” the “alleged groper President Trump and alleged child molester Roy Moore. Franken paid not only for their sins but also for the alleged behavior of Bill Clinton two decades ago. Democrats underreacted then and consequently were impelled to overreact now.”

And, um, the woman -- I mean, all this time along, and I’m gonna read another one, we’ve never really talked about the woman who first came out against Al Franken who’s in the picture that you say, Susan, is just the death knell. I would think a dress owned by Monica Lewinsky would bring down a president, but it didn't. So I'm surprised that you think a comedian’s picture of a performer, Playboy model who goes on Hannity, who voted for Trump -- um, you know, I see some politics there, but I haven't brought that up every step of the way because, of course, in this “me too” environment, you must always just believe the women. And I think that there's a lot of reasons why we need to look at the women seriously and believe them, and in many cases -- like, for example, I spoke to accusers in Mark Halperin, which, to which he admits a lot of what he's accused of doing. I spoke to them. I believe them. I'm just wondering if all women need to be believed. And I'm concerned that we are being the judge, the jury, and the cops here and so did Senate Democrats getting ahead of their skis. And, trust me, Kirsten Gillibrand, I want you to run for president, but you gotta keep it real.

###

BRZEZINSKI: That’s, okay, so I would appreciate if senators, um, Democratic senators would say the photo is too, uh, too dangerous. We recognize the work that he’s done for women. I have a list of, of, of legislation that he sponsored for victims of domestic violence and rape survivors. We appreciate his work at this time. Right now, that picture is too politically damaging and we prefer if he step aside. That would have been a more honest way of asking him to step down. In my opinion, just my opinion, I feel like we are, we’re just -- we've got a machine gun out, and we're just, you know, going around the room with every man that perhaps we don't like politically. I don't know. Here’s Masha Gessen. She says it a lot better than me. This is what concerns me. Sh-, uh, she writes in The New Yorker in a column entitled "Al Franken's Resignation and the Selective Force of #MeToo." And it reads in part this:

“The case of Franken makes it all that much more clear that this conversation is, in fact, about sex, not about power, violence, or illegal acts. The accusations against him, which involve groping and forcible kissing, arguably fall into the emergent, undefined, and most likely undefinable category of “sexual misconduct.” Put more simply, Franken stands accused of acting repeatedly like a jerk, and he denies that he acted this way. The entire sequence of events, from the initial accusations to Franken's resignation, is based on the premise that Americans, as a society, or at least half of a society, should be policing non-criminal behavior related to sex. If only Franken's heartbreakingly articulate expression of his loss were capable of focussing [sic] our attention on this root, and on the dangers of the drive to police sex.” The sex panic that is happening. Having said that, Kasie, there's a lot of work to be done on Capitol Hill.

###

SCARBOROUGH: Mika, so, the joke has been, I have, at times, put my arm down low and I said I'm going to put, you know, put what I called the “butt bar” to stop people from their hands wandering down.

[smiles and mild chuckling from panel, including Mika]

But guess what?

BRZEZINSKI: That's not funny. But, yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: No, no, but I’m just saying it happens and there's so many people. And sometimes people do it accidentally. I've had women, um,-

BRZEZINSKI: I just-.

SCARBOROUGH: -middle-aged women from Middle America do it to me through time. You know what you do? You're like – ugh, ugh. And it moves on. And you know what? You assume maybe it was a mistake, maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that. But, David Ignatius, for a guy to be going: Well gee, let’s see, I've had 10,000 people do this, and this woman says back in 2008 my hand wandered to her waist and maybe a little bit lower. If that is the new standard for destroying people's career, that is a dangerous, arbitrary standard. Not just -- I find that -- I, listen, I find that behavior gross and vile and when, and when people in photo lines do it to Mika, I just stop and stare, like, what the hell’s going on? I’m not justifying that gross behavior. I'm saying, to say to a senator who does this 10,000 times over a decade -- hey, back in 2009, you may not remember, but you grabbed me in the waist in a way that made me feel uncomfortable or went down to my, my butt.

DAVID IGNATIUS: No, we're all struggling to figure out what the new balance is, what the right standards are. A good starting point, obviously, as, as, as people keep saying is, conduct that makes women uncomfortable-

BRZEZINSKI: Right.

IGNATIUS: -is inappropriate and we need to think more about that as, as, as men, and in the workplace and in general. This is, as Time magazine told us, the year of the silence breakers.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

IGNATIUS: I thought that was the right cover choice. Something big is happening in our culture. And, as with any big thing that happens, there's some kind of overreaction. We're not trying to feel our way, but the funda-.

SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting] Like, like, like for instance, the French Revolution.

IGNATIUS: Well, I don't think this is the French revolution.

SCARBOROUGH: [talking over Ignatius] No, no, I'm just saying. Some, some-.

IGNATIUS: [inaudible] People are not being taken to the guillotine. But, but I think you’ll find, you’ll find [inaudible].

BRZEZINSKI: [interrupting] Um, wait a minute.

SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting] How, how, how, how, how about – wait a second. But what about, what about -- and, and again, this is something, I think, that Masha talked about, or maybe it was Bari Weiss talked about it – this is going to keep going and it's going to keep steamrolling. And women have said this, not me, but it ultimately leads to a Duke lacrosse case, it ultimately leads to, ultimately leads to a Rolling Stone Virginia article, two stories which, by the way, while I've been at this network, we covered as the truth, I covered as the truth for a month.

IGNATIUS: Pe-, people get wronged in these investigations, and the two examples you cited are, are, are, are perfect ones. I'm just saying that, that, again, the Time magazine cover was right.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

IGNATIUS: This is the year of the silence breaker.

BRZEZINSKI: I'm the first to-.

IGNATIUS: And, you know, I -- it was poignant to watch Al Franken, who in many ways has been a hardworking, decent legislator, who was a classmate of mine in college, this is a person I’ve known for many years, uh, see his political career shatter that way.

BRZEZINSKI: [agreeing] M-hm.

IGNATIUS: But, when you look at the fundamentals of what's going on, you’d, you’d have to say: He’s, he just got caught up in something-

BRZEZINSKI: Yep.

IGNATIUS: -whose fundamental rightness, I -- it's, it’s, it’s just -- when I go home, talk to my wife and daughters, I don't hear a lot of s-, you know,-

BRZEZINSKI: Right.

IGNATIUS: -people saying: Stop this right now, it's just gone too far. I'm not hearing that at all.

BRZEZINSKI: No, I, I don't disagree, and I'm very torn apart by it. But I, I feel that to just be on one side of all of these stories sometimes is very dangerous.

Comment
Show commentsHide Comments

Latest Political Videos

Video Archives