On Morning Joe, without citing any examples, Joe Scarborough stated, "[Y]ou have your Holocaust deniers ... then you have your Giuliani deniers. And Giuliani deniers will tell you he had nothing to do with September 11th." But as Mika Brzezinski later noted, "There are a lot of people who have a lot of criticisms for Rudy Giuliani, and how he handled 9-11 before it happened."
On the December 12 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough stated: "[I]t seems to me you have your Holocaust deniers, and then you have -- not to sound like [University of Alabama head football coach] Nick Saban ... I apologize already for saying this ... then you have your Giuliani deniers. And Giuliani deniers will tell you he had nothing to do with September 11th. Giuliani deniers will tell you he had nothing to do with cleaning up New York City in the 1990s." Scarborough did not name anyone who has said that Giuliani "had nothing to do with September 11th." In fact, as co-host Mika Brzezinski noted later in the segment, "There are a lot of people who have a lot of criticisms for Rudy Giuliani, and how he handled 9-11 before it happened."
Brzezinski also stated: "[T]here are people who will argue that, against the advice of his advisers, he put the command center under the World Trade Center, and also, under his watch, the radios didn't work. Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented the media's referring to Giuliani as "America's Mayor" or the "hero of 9-11" without noting criticism of his actions.
Scarborough's comments were first noted by The Huffington Post.
Scarborough, Brzezinski, and MSNBC host Chris Matthews were discussing the results of a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, which found that 38 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents think Giuliani is "the strongest leader," twice the percentage received by any other Republican candidate. Earlier in the discussion, Matthews had asserted that Republicans "think he might be an SOB. And the one thing is, he's an authentic SOB. I mean, he really looks like one, acts like one, talks like one -- he is the real thing. He is not a nice guy; he's a tough guy. And at 3 o'clock in the morning on the subway, do you want a nice guy to get on -- do you want [Mike] Huckabee joining you on the subway -- or do you want this guy who looks like he might just have brass knuckles on?" Media Matters has previously documented Matthews calling Giuliani a "street-corner conservative" and "the kind of gutsy, street-corner politician we all grew up with."
From the December 12 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
MATTHEWS: I was thinking that -- Giuliani's the other strong favorite. He's once again selected as the best leader, the most experienced, and I think the best chance to win. But the fact that he's still the best leader in the Republican Party is the key thing. Republicans like leaders, and I still think that's why he's the front-runner. If you look down the stretch, he can win the big states with the unit rule. He could do well in Florida; he can do well in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Washington, Oregon. He could win the coasts big time and win the nomination a little slower and a little dirtier than he'd like, but he'll win it.
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, but isn't it -- sorry -- isn't it because people just think he simply can win, as opposed to whether or not they agree with what he stands for? Is it -- are we still there?
MATTHEWS: Yeah, that's where they're at. You're right, Mika. They think he can win it. And they think he's a leader, and they think he might be an SOB. And one thing is, he's an authentic SOB.
I mean, he really looks like one, acts like one, talks like one -- he is the real thing. He is not a nice guy; he's a tough guy. And at 3 o'clock in the morning on the subway, do you want a nice guy to get on -- do you want Huckabee joining you on the subway -- or do you want this guy who looks like he might just have brass knuckles on? You don't know.
SCARBOROUGH: I want Giuliani sitting next to me on the subway.
BRZEZINSKI: You don't want Huckabee?
MATTHEWS: I think that's what you want. You want [former New York City police commissioner] Bernie Kerik sitting next to you on the subway is what you really want.
SCARBOROUGH: You're damn straight I want Bernie Kerik. I will not criticize Bernie Kerik --
BRZEZINSKI: Oh, Lord!
SCARBOROUGH: -- because I can walk around the streets of New York City at 2 in the morning and not be afraid for my life.
BRZEZINSKI: Chris --
SCARBOROUGH: You're damn --
MATTHEWS: I felt that, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: You're damn straight.
MATTHEWS: Joe, I'm an out-of-towner, too.
BRZEZINSKI: Is this because of Giuliani's work as mayor?
SCARBOROUGH: You're damn straight it is.
BRZEZINKSI: Because some people argue that actually, the work that --
SCARBOROUGH: Some people my ass.
BRZEZINKSI: -- was done by the previous mayor finally kicked in by the time Giuliani --
SCARBOROUGH: [Former New York City mayor] David Dinkins?
BRZEZINKSI: I'm just telling you --
SCARBOROUGH: Mika, please, tell me you are not that --
MATTHEWS: Mika, Mika.
BRZEZINSKI: Go ahead, Chris.
SCARBOROUGH: -- liberal that you are crediting the lack of time --
BRZEZINKSI: Would you let Chris talk?
MATTHEWS: I've got two words for Mika.
BRZEZINKSI: Chris is in the shower.
MATTHEWS: Mika, I've got words two for you.
BRZEZINSKI: Oh, no.
MATTHEWS: "Crown Heights."
BRZEZINSKI: Crown Heights.
MATTHEWS: Crown Heights.
BRZEZINSKI: All right.
MATTHEWS: And the guy couldn't decide between the killers of Yankel -- what's his name -- Rosenbaum, the Talmudic scholar, and the people that killed him. He was the honest referee. "Wait a minute," as Churchill said, "don't confuse, you know, the fire brigade with the fire. We're on the side of the fire brigade, got it?"
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Chris, Mika Brzezinski --
BRZEZINSKI: Oh, no.
SCARBOROUGH: -- has just --
BRZEZINSKI: Ai, ai, ai.
SCARBOROUGH: No. She has just given me a great opening to ask you a question about Giuliani haters. And I'm not saying she is one.
BRZEZINSKI: I'm not.
SCARBOROUGH: But it seems to me you have your Holocaust deniers, and then you have -- not to sound like Nick Saban --
BRZEZINSKI: Oh, no.
SCARBOROUGH: I apologize already for saying this.
BRZEZINSKI: Oh no.
SCARBOROUGH: And then you have -- then you have your Giuliani deniers. And Giuliani deniers will tell you he had nothing to do with September 11th. Giuliani deniers will tell you he had nothing to do with cleaning up New York City in the 1990s.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, Mika. Because, I swear to God, is this not a problem for Democrats moving forward? Because I hear it time and time again and it's just a narrative that doesn't sell.
SCARBOROUGH: So, I go back to Giuliani, though. Why is it that Democrats continue to try to say that he had nothing to do with leadership --
MATTHEWS: 'Cause they're afraid of him.
BRZEZINSKI: You know what, Chris? No.
MATTHEWS: They're afraid because they -- because the Hillary-Giuliani race would be a dog fight. It would be brutal. It would be rough to watch. It wouldn't be pleasant, and at the end of it, nobody really knows who will win. It is throwing the cards in the air. I don't know who would win that fight. Hillary Clinton could come off as Jack Kennedy-smooth, look like a million bucks, be Grace Kelley with brains and toughness. Rudy could look like a sweating, scared Nixon with water coming out of his nose, dripping down his face. I mean, you don't know what's going to happen in a fight like that.
MATTHEWS: I mean, I could -- you could put place our bets [inaudible] by the way, and it would be the best bet of our lives, because who knows who would be the Nixon and who would be the Kennedy in that race. Because everybody thought Kennedy was going to be the Nixon. Then he chickened out.
Everybody thought Nixon was unbeatable. He beat [former Soviet leader Nikita] Khrushchev, he beat -- he would have killed [two-time Democratic presidential candidate Adlai] Stevenson, he beat [Nixon's opponent in the 1950 California U.S. Senate race] Helen Gahagan Douglas, he beat [Nixon's opponent in a 1946 congressional race, former Rep.] Jerry Voorhis [D-CA]. He would've beaten anybody, but he couldn't beat Jack Kennedy. So, you just never know. That's the fun of politics.
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, I think that's fair.
SCARBOROUGH: It's fascinating.
BRZEZINSKI: Am I allowed to respond to the Giuliani denier comment you made, or is it so unpopular --
BRZEZINSKI: -- that I should keep my mouth shut, because people think --
SCARBOROUGH: No, go ahead. If you want to credit --
MATTHEWS: I think you've got to start with the Holocaust. [laughs]
SCARBOROUGH: If you want to credit David Dinkins for --
BRZEZINSKI: I'm not --
SCARBOROUGH: -- New York being safer --
BRZEZINSKI: But, listen. Look --
SCARBOROUGH: -- then you go ahead, if that makes you feel better.
BRZEZINSKI: All right, let me do the 9-11 thing, because, look, he was very much a leader on the day of 9-11, but leading up to 9-11, there are people who will argue that, against the advice of his advisers, he put the command center under the World Trade Center, and also, under his watch, the radios didn't work. There are a lot of people who have a lot of criticisms for Rudy Giuliani, and how he handled 9-11 before it happened.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, and all I'm saying is that Democrats need to understand that Rudy Giuliani, after 9-11, was selected as Time's "Man of the Year." He was the one leader --
BRZEZINSKI: And I think that goes to what Chris is saying.
SCARBOROUGH: -- in a country, in a world looking for leaders.
BRZEZINSKI: I think you're right.
SCARBOROUGH: And so, yeah, they can talk all they want to, but I think they're wasting their time.
BRZEZINSKI: But don't deny certain parts of the story that are there.
SCARBOROUGH: All I'm saying is, you focus on weaknesses that are going to actually draw blood: 9-11 and New York City. Yeah, I want to see the ad that says, "Actually, David Dinkins is the person that cleaned up New" -- come on, Chris.