Mika Brzezinski had to quickly apologize after referring to Mike Pompeo as a "wannabe dictator's butt boy" on Morning Joe Wednesday. Referring to a Fox & Friends interview in which the secretary of state downplayed the CIA's conclusion that the Saudi Arabian crown prince ordered dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder, Brzezinski asked, "Why doesn’t Mike Pompeo care right now? Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard … is that a patriot speaking, or a wannabe dictator’s butt boy?" Video was shared on social media, and critics on both the left and the right decried her choice of insult as a homophobic slur, the Guardian reports.
"Totally agree with you – SUPER BAD choice of words," Brzezinski tweeted. "I should have said 'water boy'... like for football teams or something like that.. apologize to @SenatorDurbin too! SO SORRY!" (The Daily Beast notes that Brzezinski was speaking to a panel including Sen. Dick Durbin at the time.) The MSNBC control room appeared to cut her audio briefly in an apparent attempt to bleep out the comment, but didn't catch it in time. It was, however, left off the closed captioning. A source says network executives were meeting Wednesday morning to discuss the issue. (Brzezinski just married her Morning Joe co-host.)