There was a time when Mika Brzezinski served as the liberal voice of reason to Joe Scarborough’s conservative blowhard on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. But somewhere during Donald Trump’s unlikely journey to the presidency, that seemingly changed.
Nowhere was Brzezinski’s apparent change of political heart more apparent than during a rant she delivered against Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren Tuesday morning. Warren was an important, if not entirely effective, surrogate for Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
And like many progressives, she has had to come to grips with the prospect of four years under President Trump, a man who refers to her almost exclusively as “Pocahontas” on Twitter.
A couple days after the election, Senator Warren vowed to “compromise” with Trump whenever possible, but also confirmed that on some issues, there will be no compromise. “On those core issues about treating every single human being in this country with dignity, on that we stand up and we fight back. We do not back down,” she told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “We do not compromise, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”
It was this sentiment, expressed on the floor of the Senate on Monday, that had Brzezinski up in arms Tuesday morning. “The majority of voters supported Democratic Senate candidates over Republican ones, and the majority supported a Democratic presidential candidate over a Republican one,” Warren said, citing the popular vote totals. “The American people didn't give Democrats majority support so we can come back to Washington and play dead. They didn't send us here to whimper, whine, or grovel.”
That speech, clearly designed to reinvigorate a demoralized Democratic base, caused Brzezinski to deliver a heavy sigh on Morning Joe. “I’ve got to tell you, I love her, and I am getting tired of this act,” she said, urging Warren to move away from “anger” and start sounding more “inclusive” with her rhetoric.
“She is sounding like the people she is accusing of as being exclusive,” Brzezinski continued. “I mean, she’s just got to stop, I’m sorry, it’s getting exhausting.” She went on to describe Warren’s tone as “shrill,” “unmeasured” and “almost unhinged.”
“At some point we have to look at what happened and look at the people we lost along the way, and those are the people Elizabeth Warren has been fighting for for decades,” she added. “Those are the people that have been left out because of a rigged system. Those were her people and she is leaving them out of the conversation, and it doesn't make sense to me.”
Brzezinski’s use of the word “shrill” to describe Warren stood out in particular since, along with frequent co-host Nicolle Wallace, she previously criticized the media for using words like “shrill” and “shriek” when describing Hillary Clinton’s speech, but not Donald Trump’s.
“Everyone talks about her, and why? Because she’s a woman and we have to address how a woman has to be polite of something?” Brzezinski asked after a played an “unhinged” clip of Trump this past August. She went on to describe Trump’s speech as “the most impolite thing” she’d ever seen and even suggested he sounded drunk.
But now that Trump is the president-elect, helped along the way in some small part by friendly coverage from Morning Joe, Brzezinski is back to using that word to describe an impassioned female politician who is not backing down from her opposition to him. Similarly, her co-host Scarborough ran away from Trump in August when it seemed that his campaign was doomed, but now champions himself as one of the few pundits who always knew Trump could win.
“At the beginning of a new presidency, isn't the first thing that should happen out of the box is, ‘We look forward to working with Republicans, we support the new president-elect and we hope to move forward together and find things we can agree on,’” Brzezinski added later in the segment on Tuesday. “Isn't that the example that Democrats have accused Republicans of not holding up to, for eight years?”
As Warren said in that first interview following the election, there will be points of compromise for Democrats with Trump over the next four years, but that does not mean blanket “support” for a president-elect who spent the majority of his campaign both fueling and echoing racism and misogyny.
There was a time when Brzezinski might have been a steadfast supporter of Warren’s principled opposition to Trump. But apparently that time has passed.
And yet just as she is turning on Warren, she may be back in Trump’s good graces. Less than an hour after Morning Joe ended its broadcast Tuesday, Brzezinski was spotted entering Trump Tower for an unspecified meeting.