Media

Biden Set to Face Hard-Hitting Questions From Character Witness Mika Brzezinski

(Updated) Former VP to address Tara Reade allegations with MSNBC host who defended Al Franken, Mark Halperin, Chris Matthews

Former vice president Joe Biden is finally ready to talk about Tara Reade, the woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Five weeks after Reade's allegation was made public, Biden will appear on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Friday and is "expected to be asked" about his former Senate staffer, according to New York Times media columnist Ben Smith.

Biden's campaign, the senior members of which are well-versed in the art of flacking for creeps, could not be happier with the outcome. After sitting for 20 interviews without being asked a single question about Reade's allegation, Biden will get to discuss the issue with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, who has been one of the most reliable defenders of prominent men accused of sexual misconduct.

After her former MSNBC colleague Mark Halperin was fired amid allegations of sexual misconduct, Brzezinski suggested that Halperin's accusers were engaged in "hypocrisies" by refusing to meet with Halperin so he could apologize. "They don't want to talk to him," she said. "If we just want to strike people down for political motivation or for anger, we're not going to get anywhere." She was forced to apologize.

Brzezinski and her cohost husband Joe Scarborough were among the few people who attempted to help revive Halperin's career. According to a Daily Beast report published in May 2019, the couple sought to produce an online show with Halperin on the 2018 midterm elections. The plan did not go over well with NBC execs, who were not consulted about the proposed collaboration and had recently dismissed Halperin as an on-air political analyst.

Brzezinski, who has been described by President Donald J. Trump as "dumb as a rock," also lamented the 2018 resignation of Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), dismissing his accuser—who provided photographic evidence of Franken pretending to grope her as she slept—as a "Playboy model who goes on Hannity, who voted for Trump," and who was primarily motivated by politics.

"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 said. "I’m just wondering if all women need to be believed."

More recently, Brzezinski came to Chris Matthews's defense after the longtime Hardball host abruptly announced his resignation in March amid allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior. While acknowledging the "important changes around this so-called cancel culture," Brzezinski wondered if "there might be a better way" to handle situations in which powerful men are accused of misconduct.

Brzezinski has even defended Joe Biden's long history of aggressively touching women and girls, describing the former VP as "extremely flirtatious in a completely safe way." On one occasion, she took particular issue with a woman who said she felt uncomfortable when Biden smelled her hair. "He's not interested in your hair, okay?" Brzezinski said. "He was going on stage, he took a deep breath before he went on stage and you took it deeply personal."

Friday's interview will be the first time Tara Reade's name has been mentioned during a Morning Joe broadcast, according to an IQ Media search.

UPDATE: Friday, 11:52 A.M.: This article previously stated Reade's name hadn't been mentioned on MSNBC before Friday. It was specifically Morning Joe that hadn't mentioned her.