Election 2020

Holy Journalisming! Morning Mika Takes Joe Biden to the Woodshed

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2017 file photo, Mika Brzezinski attends FX's "The Americans" season five premiere in New York. “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski has a 3-book deal. Weinstein Books said Thursday, July 20, 2017 that the first release would be a new and expanded edition of the 2011 best-seller “Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth.” The book features commentary from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sheryl Sandberg among others and will come out next spring. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

We’re not sure if this was an accident, but Mika Brzezinski actually conducted a hard-hitting interview with presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden. She questioned the former vice president about allegations of sexual assault made by his former Senate aide, Tara Reade. At this point it’s astonishing that #CancelMika isn’t trending.

This morning, the Biden campaign released a statement on Medium. It has been over a month since Reade made her allegations on Katie Halper’s podcast. The statement reviewed the former vice president’s record on policy related to domestic and other violence against women. In paragraph 8, they address the allegation and issue a denial. In closing it, requested the Secretary of the Senate to search the National Archives for any record of the complaint Reade alleges she made at the time.

There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be — the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.

Following the release of the statement, Biden appeared on Morning Joe. Mika opened the interview by explaining she would be the sole questioner for the first part of the interview. She reviewed the assault allegation after warning the audience about its graphic nature. Then she proceeded to hammer Biden for nearly a full 17 minutes.

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Brzezinski allowed the candidate to issue a verbal denial of the charges and state that he was not aware of any complaints against him. That is odd because a complaint was issued about inappropriate physical contact by Nevada gubernatorial candidate Lucy Flores when he announced his candidacy. In fact, Biden earned a headline in the human resources blog Payscale in 2015:

Maybe you’re a hugger, or a back-slapper, or — in your personal life — a terrible flirt. Chances are, you know that none of this behavior will fly in the office, no matter how innocent your intentions. No one wants to be referred to HR for remedial training or, worse, lose their jobs because they didn’t get the memo that it’s 2015, and co-workers don’t touch each other. In this, we are probably more with the program than many of our leaders in Washington. Take, for example, America’s touchy-feeler-in-chief, Joe Biden.

In fact, this type of behavior from Biden has been so pervasive there are dozens of memes of him invading women’s personal space where they look extremely uncomfortable. Following Flores’ complaint and the onslaught of #CreepyJoe memes, Biden issued the following statement:

In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said in a statement. “And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.

While Brzezinski did not bring up Biden’s history of routinely getting in the ATM space of dozens of women on camera, she was relentless in several lines of questioning.

While Biden has asked for a search of the National Archives, she asked him several times why he would not allow a search of documents from his personal records at the University of Delaware. Biden tried out several excuses, including claiming the documents may contain prior political statements that could be unpopular or misrepresent his current views. When Brzezinski directly asked why he would not have those documents searched and only release any documents relevant to Reade, Biden got testy. He just kept insisting that no personnel records would be among his personal documents at the university.

She also pressed Biden on the timeframe under which his personal documents would be released. She cited reports that the date was moved back and wanted to know why. Biden denied the change on the release date and continued to insist nothing related to Reade’s complaint would be in his Senate records. New information has also surfaced that current campaign staff accessed these records at some point between the announcement Biden was running for the nomination and when the school closed due to COVID-19.

She also asked direct and confrontational questions about Biden’s own past statements regarding the sexual assault claims of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. She added comments made by female Democrats including Stacey Abrams, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She skipped Hillary Clinton, which was unfortunate.

The optics in this exchange are stunning, with Brzezinski arms crossed and skeptical face, while Biden looks like a deer in the headlights. Then she drops the bomb:

Are women to be believed unless it pertains to you?

Biden inadvertently advocated for due process in sexual assault claims. He states they should be investigated and cites that they need to be proven. He also mentioned a growing record of inconsistencies in Reade’s account. Stunning hypocrisy given his treatment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Not to mention the grave injustice he perpetrated against Justice Clarence Thomas by the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If you lived through both of those confirmations, you may think there is some sweet schadenfreude going on here. However, I think this has more far-reaching implications. There has been much speculation about Biden’s cognitive abilities and whether he can really confront President Trump. While the media took forever to acknowledge Reade’s allegations, it is almost starting to feel like a deliberate campaign from the left, not the right. Even Newsweek is getting into the action.

The idea that the DNC would replace Biden at the convention has been circulating for a while. mostly from those on the right who can’t believe Democrats would put someone so clearly prone to fumbling ideas and tossing some word salad against Trump. However, after putting out a detailed statement with ready-made talking points about Biden’s record, an appearance on Morning Joe should have been a walk in the park.

It wasn’t. Brzezinski was relentless pointing to a lack of transparency regarding Biden’s personal records and his own hypocrisy. There is blood in the water. And the Democrat nomination process might be about to get a lot more interesting.