WATCH: Bloomberg Adviser Faces Brutal Grilling from MSNBC Panel on Stop-and-Frisk, NDAs, and More
Bloomberg senior advisor Tim O’Brien appeared on MSNBC’s AM Joy this morning and faced a serious grilling not just from host Joy Reid but from her panel on the former New York mayor’s record.
Reid kicked things off bringing up the recent report detailing allegations that Bloomberg oversaw a culture of sexual harassment and engaged in a number of sexist remarks over the years asking about the idea that America would be “trading one Trump for kind of another.”
O’Brien said that Bloomberg is a “flawed man” but he’s “not a sexual predator and deviant like Donald Trump.”
“I don’t think anyone is saying they are the same. Obviously I’m sure Michael Bloomberg actually believes in the rule of law and things like that, unlike Donald Trump,” Reid said. “However, there are things that are troubling equally on the Bloomberg side as on the Trump side.”
She went back to the Washington Post report and noted how Bloomberg would not release anyone from confidentiality agreements, nor would he release his depositions. Reid showed a clip of Elizabeth Warren criticizing NDAs before asking O’Brien, “Will he release women from these NDA so they can be heard because what they have to say might be of interest to voters?”
After a brief swipe at Warren, O’Brien said, “It’s the company’s position that many of the women on the other side of those NDAs also don’t want disclosure and they’re respecting the terms of those agreements. They’re not usual agreements. These are routine agreements.”
He also defended Bloomberg personally as someone who believes women should be protected from sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, saying that the former mayor regrets any “offensive or disgusting” comments he’s made in the past.
Reid then opened things opt to the panel, starting with disability rights advocate Ola Ojewumi saying, “Bloomberg has a horrendous record when it comes to disability rights, whether it’s equal employment, accessibility of transportation and emergency preparedness. How do you think Bloomberg will respond to criticisms from the disabled community about his record of discrimination?… He was completely resistant to accessible cabs and made efforts to stop public transit from becoming more accessible when he was mayor.”
O’Brien pointed to Bloomberg’s support of the ADA and said, “An overarching theme of every piece of public policy we have in this campaign is reasserting the role of the federal government on behalf of vulnerable people so they aren’t batted around anymore like they’ve been over the last three decades.”
The Intercept columnist Medhi Hasan got a bit heated with O’Brien, particularly on the issue of stop-and-frisk:
“You and I are flawed, but you and I have not had 64 different women accuse us and organizations we lead of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination cases. You and I did not support the Iraq War or publicly go out and say George W. Bush should be re-elected after the Iraq War. You and I did not spend the last 20, 30-odd years defending stop and frisk, racist stop and frisk practices, racist surveillance of Muslims in New York… Michael Bloomberg has a lot of flaws, a lot of problems, it’s mad to think that Donald Trump and the Republicans would not go to town with the legacy and the record that Michael Bloomberg brings to this race, Tim. Surely you know that.”
“I could not disagree more about how you’re framing this,” O’Brien responded. “You and I don’t deal with all the questions Michael Bloomberg deals with because you and I haven’t founded a global philanthropy, you and I weren’t mayor of New York for three terms, you and I did not found a company that employs 20,000 people. So of course, a lot more stuff will go at Mike Bloomberg than comes at us. I am profoundly comfortable with backing Michael Bloomberg at this moment because there’s nobody else running who is going to be able to beat Donald Trump this year.”
Hasan jumped in and pointed to polls showing other Democrats ahead of Trump in hypothetical match-ups.
You can watch the full segment above, via MSNBC.
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