"Morning Joe" co-anchor Mika Brzezinski had to apologize for a slur she made against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on her show Wednesday morning. Brzezinski was in the middle of sounding off on Pompeo's refusal to condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his reported role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, when she decided to use a really bad choice of words.
.@morningmika just asked if Mike Pompeo is a “wannabe dictator’s butt boy,” as homophobic a term as I’ve heard on national morning television. @MSNBC tried and failed to censor it, and did not transcribe her remark in the closed captioning. #journalism pic.twitter.com/3zK7H8evjh— G.E. Anderson (@g_e_anderson) December 12, 2018
"Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard when he appeared on Fox & Friends — is that a patriot speaking?" she asked. "Or a wannabe dictator’s butt-boy? I’m dead serious, I’m asking: are these the words of a patriot?”
Critics were quick to condemn Brzezinski because she had apparently used a homophobic slur. The social media user who shared the video clip suggested several other, less offensive names Brzezinski could have used for Pompeo.
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.— G.E. Anderson (@g_e_anderson) December 12, 2018
Brzezinski later issued a statement about her unfortunate remark.
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! https://t.co/zIqsGdK3Tk— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) December 12, 2018
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, who is openly gay, noticed an omission in her apology.
accepting apologies is important. We all fail. But I don’t see that you’ve actually apologized to gays? Your words demean, mock and therefore try to control whole groups by minimizing our humanity. @morningmika https://t.co/whNqjHYjfn— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) December 12, 2018
Pompeo and President Trump have repeatedly told press that they have no evidence to conclusively prove that the Saudi crown prince was complicit in Khashoggi's murder. The journalist walked in to the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2 for marriage documents and never walked out. He had often written critical pieces about the Saudi government.
Khashoggi was one of the journalists named as TIME Magazine's 2018 "Person of the Year" on Tuesday. TIME named them "The Guardians."