While debating the role women play in President Barack Obama's administration, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski called the behavior of on-air partner Joe Scarborough "chauvinistic," leading to a tempestuous rebuttal that indicted so-called progressives for being hypocritical.
After rebuffing the chauvinism charge, Scarborough plowed on with a critique of the left which he labeled hypocritical, claimed progressives largely ignored the lack of diversity in Obama's cabinet, which overwhelmingly consists of white men, because they agreed with his policies.
"If a Republican in 2013 had a cabinet that looked like that, that Republican would be savaged . . . we've heard these stories coming out of the White House since 2009, sort of it's a guy's club," said Scarborough.
Brzezinski responded by pointing out Obama's selection of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in his first term, as well as the successful nomination of two women to the U.S. Supreme Court, as examples of the president's support for women in his administration.
In an attempt to discredit her co-host's argument, Brzezinski, an ardent supporter of Obama, went on to point out the obvious, that Obama is the nation's first black president.
Scarborough responded by speaking over a female guest who sided with Brzezinski, and in a somewhat condescending voice mocked his co-host's obvious observation by performing a Google search for "first African-American president" and coming up with a search result of Bill Clinton. In 1998, Clinton received the title of "first African-American president" from a columnist in the New Yorker magazine for his close ties to the black community.
Reacting to Scarborough's behavior, Brzezinski said, "I am afraid to use the word, because it will not be good for you, OK, because you're being chauvinistic right now and you need to stop, alright. Because I'm sorry, this is not funny."
Scarborough responded, "No it's not funny, it's not funny if you're a woman that works in the Obama administration and you want to go to the highest rungs of that administration . . . And you can attack me and be personal and make personal attacks against me. You've got a president that you worship on this show every day, you've savaged Mitt Romney . . . If a Republican president had that cabinet he would be savaged. And you're calling the wrong guy a chauvinistic."
Brzezinski then laughed at Scarborough, who proceeded to snap his fingers and rearrange his chair to face his co-host before re-engaging in the exchange which went as follows:
Scarborough: "You want to call me a chauvinist?
Brzezinski (laughing): "Stop, let me help you."
Scarborough (interrupts): "No let me help you. You really knowing me, and seeing me work around here for five years, you want to call me a chauvinist on television, you want to say that? Do you want to say that on television that I'm a chauvinist?"
Brzezinski: "No I'm saying that 20 seconds that was catty (that) was chauvinist."
Scarborough: "Do you want to say that on television that I'm a chauvinist?
Brzezinski: "I didn't."
Scarborough: "You did."
Brzezinski: "No, I didn't. I said the way you're acting is chauvinistic, especially the way you were handling this conversation."
Scarborough: ". . . Am I a chauvinist? Am I a chauvinist? Let's just answer that question right now."
Brzezinski: "No you are not."
Later in the show, Brzezinski formally apologized for calling Scarborough a chauvinist.
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