Mika: RNC chair’s comparison of Obama to cruise ship captain is ‘gutter politics, despicable’

Mika: RNC chair's comparison of Obama to cruise ship captain is 'gutter politics, despicable'
Mika: RNC chair's comparison of Obama to cruise ship captain is 'gutter politics, despicable'
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

by Quinn Wonderling

Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus is facing backlash for his questionable comments on Face the Nation Sunday, comparing President Obama to the captain of the Costa Concordia, the huge cruise liner that crashed in Tuscany killing at least 17 passengers.

On Morning Joe Tuesday, Mika Brzezinski expressed contempt at the remarks. Priebus said that by traveling and campaigning, the president is “our own little Captain Schettino,” shirking his duties and “abandoning the ship here in the United States.”

Mika Brzezinski sounded off:

[It’s] irresponsible and despicable. That was absolutely wrong. You all screwed up in a big way. You all sat around in a room and said, “Oooh! This would be so cool to say. Hahaha.” You slapped your knees and then you went on the air and then you spit that out, you vomited it out and you made a fool of yourself… This was gutter politics, a bad parallel, a stupid mistake.

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed with Brzezinski, noting Priebus’ lack of respect for Obama was overshadowed only by his apparent lack of sensitivity for victims of the tragedy.

“When he was given an opportunity to walk it back, he doubled down,” Wasserman Schultz said of unrepentant Priebus. “We’re talking about families who still have loved ones missing, we’re talking about victims who died.”

Wasserman Schultz released a statement yesterday calling on Preibus to apologize.

“It’s the politics of contempt,” added Chris Matthews.

Priebus defended his analogy on Fox News Monday, saying criticism of his comments was “political gamesmanship” and that he made “an analogy of leadership.”

Francesco Schettino was Costa Concordia’s captain, currently charged with multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship. After deviating from the ship’s route and crashing into a reef, Schettino claims he accidentally tripped and fell into a life boat. He refused to reboard the ship despite orders from the Italian Coast Guard.

Brzezinski’s comments echo what the panel said during Monday’s show about Priebus’ analogy.

Here’s an exchange with Michael Steele, John Heilemann and Joe Scarborough:

Michael Steele: “I think it’s an unfortunate analogy. People died in that situation.”

Joe Scarborough: John Heilemann…what do you think about the comparison that the chairman of the RNC just made?

John Heilemann: I’m with Michael Steele on that. I get it’s cute, but it’s too cute. And people died. There are many things you could say about the president, but that he’s left people sinking on a ship to perish under water in a cowardly and disgusting fashion. That is not appropriate. That’s a little much. It’s more than a little much; it’s a lot much.

Joe Scarborough: Obviously if the head of the DNC said that about a Republican president we would all be saying the same thing. 

Watch Mika at the top of the clip, below:


Mika: RNC chair's comparison of Obama to cruise ship captain is 'gutter politics, despicable'