In yet another case of incredible tone-deafness on Wednesday, MSNBC brought on one more Bill Clinton White House staffer to lecture the Trump White House on how to properly handle a member of an administration being accused of abusive behavior toward women. In a softball exchange with anchor Hallie Jackson, Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Mack McLarty had the audacity to scold the Trump team for not maintaining “basic ethical behavior in a White House.”
After touting McLarty’s Clinton administration credentials, Jackson asked about the serious allegations of spousal abuse against now-fired White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter: “In your view, Mack, these allegations against him, this physical, verbal abuse of his ex-wives, the allegations that have come up, would that have been disqualifying on day one in any other administration?”
McLarty – who’s old boss Bill Clinton was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, and in one case, even rape, by Juanita Broaddrick – amazingly declared: “It certainly would have immediately raised red flags, serious issues. When you get into spousal abuse, any inappropriate behavior with children, sexual harassment – Hallie, these are just red lines.”
He actually got through that hypocritical statement with a straight face and Jackson never bothered to bring up any of the accusations against Clinton.
Instead, she wrapped up the segment by teeing up McLarty again to slam the Trump White House: “Mack, I want to get to one final point here, because you’re right that this is a human story....When do you think, Mack, we will see a stronger message from President Trump?”
“I think the basic point is one that your story there suggested, it’s a moral issue, it’s a red line, as I noted earlier. It goes also, you just have to have basic ethical behavior in a White House,” he proclaimed.
This coming from the man who saw numerous major scandals rock the Clinton White House during his tenure. Travelgate, Whitewater, and Filegate all happened on his watch in the first couple years of the Democratic administration. The Washington Examiner provided a helpful guide detailing all of the controversies.
On Tuesday, Jackson’s fellow MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell invited President Clinton’s former Senior White House Aide Ron Klain on her 12:00 p.m. program to similarly hammer the Trump administration’s handling of the Porter scandal. Klain asserted: “...even 20, 30 years ago, someone with this kind of record would never have been allowed to work in the White House, either under a Democrat or a Republican.”
On February 8, 9:00 a.m. ET hour anchor Stephanie Ruhle interviewed Democratic Congressman and former Clinton White House Staff Secretary Sean Maloney about the topic.
How many more former Bill Clinton aides will MSNBC bring on to pontificate on “ethical behavior” in the White House?
Here are excerpts of the February 14 segment:
10:06 AM ET
HALLIE JACKSON: I want to bring in now Mack McLarty, former White House Chief of Staff for President Clinton and Chairman of McLarty Associates.
JACKSON: So, Mack, can you explain to people, because this is a process story. This was a –
MACK MCLARTY [FORMER WH CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON]: It is, it is.
JACKSON: This was – it seems to be a breakdown in process. Why do people need to care about a process story right now?
MCLARTY: Well, Hallie, it’s also a human tragedy story. But it is a process story, you’re right. In this case, it’s clear that this position has a major responsibility in the White House and it goes directly toward national security issues because the most sensitive information goes through, passes through the Staff Secretary’s office.
JACKSON: By many accounts, Rob Porter was a competent and able Staff Secretary. In your view, Mack, these allegations against him, this physical, verbal abuse of his ex-wives, the allegations that have come up, would that have been disqualifying on day one in any other administration?
MCLARTY: It certainly would have immediately raised red flags, serious issues. When you get into spousal abuse, any inappropriate behavior with children, sexual harassment – Hallie, these are just red lines. You know, you do give someone the benefit of the doubt to look into it, discuss it with them.
But we had to make some tough decisions of very capable people early on. And it was difficult to do, but I think we made the right decisions not going forward, even though it was near-term setback. So I think you have to just immediately get into the circumstances. And you’ve got some competent, experienced people to help you do that, including White House Counsel’s Office.
10:12 AM ET
JACKSON: But, Mack, I want to get to one final point here, because you’re right that this is a human story. This is a human story. Senator Joni Ernst was talking about the President’s response to that human aspect of this, the allegations of domestic violence. Here’s what she had to say.
SEN. JONI ERNST [R-IA]: Abuse is never okay. And we need to send a very clear signal that it won’t be tolerated.
JOHN BERMAN [CNN]: Is the President sending that signal?
ERNST: I think he needs to send a stronger message, a stronger message.
JACKSON: When do you think, Mack, we will see a stronger message from President Trump?
MCLARTY: That’s a hard prediction to make, Hallie. I think the basic point is one that your story there suggested, it’s a moral issue, it’s a red line, as I noted earlier. It goes also, you just have to have basic ethical behavior in a White House.
And finally, Hallie, I would say, and you really suggest the point in your question, all of this is distracting from the President’s agenda and the people’s business. That’s the real cost here from a political standpoint. But the human standpoint cannot be ignored, it’s serious.
JACKSON: You’re right. Mack McLarty, always a pleasure to have you on the show, thank you.