“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski offered a robust defense of Joe Biden on Monday after the former vice president found himself ensnared in a #MeToo scandal that now threatens his nascent presidential campaign.
Brzezinski said that while Biden could often be “extremely flirtatious,” she defended his intensions and warned about where to draw the #MeToo line.
“Are we really going to do this?” Brzezinski asked on set. “Democrats, you have to ask yourself, what exactly is the line — the #MeToo line — you want to draw? Because you will live and die by that line. It’s an important line. It’s very important. Don’t mock it.”
“There’s a lot of things I know about Joe Biden — I’ve known him for a long time — he is extremely affectionate, extremely flirtatious in a completely safe way,” she continued. “I am sure that somebody can misconstrue something he’s done. But as much as I can know what’s in anyone’s heart, I don’t think there is bad intent on his part at all.”
It’s not the first time Brzezinski has challenged MeToo orthodoxies on the popular MSNBC morning show. After the resignation of Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Brzezinski notably suggested that not all women need to be believed when bringing forth allegations.
“In this #MeToo 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,” Brzezinski in said in December 2017. “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.”
Biden, who has often led early Democratic 2020 polls, came in for the most serious challenge to his presidency when Lucy Flores, a Nevada politician, accused him of inappropriate behavior during her 2014 run for Lieutenant Governor of the state. Flores described how Biden touched her shoulders, kissed the back of her head and smelled her hair without prior consent.
“My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused,” Flores wrote in The Cut on Friday. “I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me.”
Joe and Mika returned to the subject in the show’s last half-hour, suggesting the issue may just be politics.
“Are we allowed to bring up that Lucy Flores is a huge Bernie person?” asked Brzezinski. Scarborough appeared to agree but said he feared for her Twitter mentions.
In a statement released over the weekend from Team Biden, the former vice president said he remembered things differently from Flores.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” he said. “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.”