Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski
May 2, 1967
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Williams College (BA)|
|Occupation(s)||News presenter, author|
|Television||Morning Joe (co-host)|
|Parent(s)||Zbigniew Brzezinski (father)|
Emilie Benešová (mother)
|Relatives||Ian Brzezinski (brother)|
Mark Brzezinski (brother)
Matthew Brzezinski (cousin)
Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski Scarborough (/ /; Polish: Brzezińska; born May 2, 1967) is an American talk show host, political commentator, and author who currently co-hosts MSNBC's weekday morning broadcast show Morning Joe. She was formerly a CBS News correspondent, and was their principal "Ground Zero" reporter during the morning of the September 11 attacks. In 2007 she joined MSNBC as an occasional anchor, and was subsequently chosen as co-host of Morning Joe, alongside Joe Scarborough.
Mika Brzezinski is a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Her main political interest is in wage equality for women. She is also the author of three books; two on her career as a journalist and one on food addiction.
Brzezinski is the daughter of diplomat and political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson and as the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.
Brzezinski was born in New York City, the daughter of Polish-born foreign policy expert and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński and Swiss-born sculptor Emilie Anna Benešová. Her mother, of Czech descent, is a grandniece of Czechoslovakia's former president Edvard Beneš. Her father was teaching at Columbia University when she was born; the family moved to McLean, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., in late 1976, when Zbigniew was named National Security Advisor by newly elected President Jimmy Carter. Her brother, Mark Brzezinski, is an American diplomat, was the United States Ambassador to Sweden from 2011 to 2015 and from 2022 has been the United States Ambassador to Poland. Her second brother is military expert Ian Brzezinski. She is a first cousin of the author Matthew Brzezinski.
Brzezinski attended the Madeira School and then attended Georgetown University for two years before transferring to Williams College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1989.
Brzezinski began her career in journalism as an assistant at ABC's World News This Morning in 1990. A year later, she moved to Tribune-owned Fox affiliate WTIC-TV/WTIC-DT in Hartford, Connecticut. There, she progressed from assignment and features editor to general assignments reporter. In 1992, she joined CBS affiliate WFSB-TV/WFSB-DT in Hartford and quickly progressed through the ranks to become its weekday morning anchor in 1995. In 1997, she left that role to join CBS News, where she served as a correspondent and as anchor for the overnight Up to the Minute news program. In 2001, Brzezinski began a short hiatus from CBS News, during which she worked for rival MSNBC on the weekday afternoon show, HomePage, with co-anchors Gina Gaston and Ashleigh Banfield. Entertainment Weekly described the trio as "the Powerpuff Girls of journalism".
She returned to CBS News as a desk correspondent in September 2001, a move that thrust her into the limelight as a principal "Ground Zero" reporter for the September 11, 2001, attacks. Brzezinski was broadcasting live from the scene when the South Tower collapsed. In her last position at CBS News, Brzezinski served as a CBS News correspondent, substitute anchor, and segment anchor for breaking news segments and routine updates. During this period she became an occasional contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes.
Brzezinski returned to MSNBC on January 26, 2007, doing the evening "Up to the Minute" news updates. Then she worked primetime newsbreaks during the week. She also filed occasional reports for NBC Nightly News and appeared as an occasional anchor on Weekend Today. Brzezinski resigned from both shows on the eve of a renewal option, said Brzezinski, when Scarborough selected her to co-host on Morning Joe.
Campaign against trivial journalism
On June 26, 2007, near the beginning of Morning Joe, Brzezinski refused to read a report about Paris Hilton's release from jail. One hour later during another news break segment, her producer Andy Jones again pushed the story as the lead, ranking it over Indiana's Republican Senator Richard Lugar's break with President Bush on the Iraq War, which Brzezinski considered more important. After several sarcastic remarks from host Scarborough, she attempted to set the story's script on fire on the air, but was physically prevented from doing so by co-host Geist. She then tore up the script, and one hour later, got up and ran another copy of the script through a paper shredder retrieved from Dan Abrams's office. The incident was quickly popularized on the Internet, and in the days that followed, Brzezinski received large quantities of fan mail supporting her on-air protest as a commentary on the tension between "hard news" and "entertainment news". Similarly, on July 7, 2010, she objected on-air to pressure to report on Lindsay Lohan and Levi Johnston. Eventually, Geist and Pat Buchanan reported the stories with the caption, then popularized, "News You Can't Use".
Democratic National Committee email leak
The 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak revealed that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, had emailed Chuck Todd, the Political Director of NBC News and host of Meet the Press, to demand that he "stop" Brzezinski from criticizing the DNC's treatment of Bernie Sanders. In December 2016, after Clinton had lost, Brzezinski suggested the Clinton campaign had tried to silence her by calling executives at NBC and telling them she "needed to be pulled off the air".
Refusal of Kellyanne Conway interviews
On February 15, 2017, Brzezinski banned Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway from future appearances on her show. Brzezinski said, "We know for a fact that [Conway] tries to book herself on this show. I won't do it. Because I don't believe in fake news, or information that is not true... every time I've ever seen her on television, something's askew, off or incorrect". Her co-host Joe Scarborough said the decision to ban Conway from future appearances was based on her being "out of the loop" and "in none of the key meetings". "She's not briefed. She's just saying things just to get in front of the TV to prove her relevance".
On February 15, 2017, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin agreed that Conway should be banned from future television appearances. "In recent days, George Stephanopoulos and Matt Lauer blasted her directly, essentially calling her a fabulist. Given all that, it would be irresponsible for any news show to put her out there, suggesting she really does not know what is going on at any given moment", Rubin wrote. According to both Scarborough and Brzezinski, Conway is privately "disgusted" by her job and Donald Trump, and her words do not reflect her actual beliefs—though Conway disputed the claim.
Conflict with Donald Trump
During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted several times criticizing both Brzezinski and Scarborough. In March 2017, Brzezinski called Trump's presidency "fake and failed", and soon thereafter Trump unfollowed Brzezinski and Scarborough on Twitter.
Brzezinski and Scarborough then accused the White House of threatening to blackmail them with an exposé in a tabloid magazine unless the pair apologized publicly to the President.
On May 20, 2020, while hosting Morning Joe, Brzezinski spoke out against Trump for tweeting a conspiracy theory that her husband was involved in the death of Lori Klausutis, an intern in Scarborough's Florida office in 2001, while he was in Congress. Trump labelled Klausutis' death a "cold case" in his tweet. Klausutis was found dead at her desk in July 2001. An autopsy revealed an undiagnosed heart problem that caused her to lose consciousness and hit her head when she fell. During a live segment on Morning Joe, Brzezinski stated "Donald, you're a sick person. You're a sick person, to put this [Klausutis'] family through this, to put her husband through this, to do this just because you're mad at Joe, because Joe got you again today. Because he speaks the truth, and he speaks plainly about your lack of interest and empathy in others and your lack of ability to handle this massive human catastrophe (COVID-19), the fact that you have made it worse and you make it worse every day. And that you won't even wear a mask to protect people from your germs". Brzezinski later announced in a tweet that she would be contacting Twitter about Trump's tweet, which she said violated their policies, and urged the platform to stop allowing their policies "to be abused by the day", citing Trump's tweet as libel, and further announced a call with the company was being arranged.
On May 26, 2020, The New York Times published an op-ed, containing a letter in which the husband of Lori Klausutis, Timothy Klausutis demanded Trump stop exploiting his late wife and urged Twitter to take down the tweets. Klausutis wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking him to intervene and claimed Trump has violated Twitter's terms of service and "has taken something that does not belong to him-the memory of my dead wife-and perverted it for perceived political gain". Later, the same day, Trump posted two tweets seemingly addressing the letter, writing: "The opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough was not a Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years, long before I joined the chorus. In 2016 when Joe & his wacky future ex-wife, Mika, would endlessly interview me, I would always be thinking .... about whether or not Joe could have done such a horrible thing? [...]".
In December 2017, Brzezinski complained on her show that women who had accused her friend and former colleague Mark Halperin of sexual harassment wouldn't meet with him so he could apologize. Ten of Halperin's accusers released a statement criticizing Brzezinski's comments.
On December 12, 2018, Brzezinski called Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "a wannabe dictator's butt-boy", referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during a live MSNBC broadcast. She apologized later that day (as well as the next day) after her remarks were criticized as homophobic.
On October 23, 1993, Brzezinski married TV news reporter James Patrick Hoffer, now of WABC-TV. They met when both worked at WTIC-TV. They have two daughters. Hoffer and Brzezinski divorced in 2016 amidst allegations of an affair that started years prior in 2010, between Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
In early 2017, Brzezinski became engaged to her co-host Joe Scarborough, and they were married on November 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C., with Rep. Elijah Cummings serving as the officiant.
Awards and honors
In January 2010, Brzezinski published a memoir entitled All Things at Once. According to The New York Times, the book "follows Brzezinski through her professional chutes and ladders — the freelance gigs, the graveyard shifts, the drama (covering 9/11), the dreariness (puff segments on shoes) — the only constant being the precariousness of her employment". The News-Times says that Brzezinski uses "the roller-coaster model of her own career to advise people" who have become unemployed, which she sees as a "reset" that can be "cleansing and liberating in ways you never knew." Her inspiration for the book came in part from talking to young women who did not believe they could have kids before establishing a career.
Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You're Worth, published in 2011, discusses women and financial negotiations. It includes tips for negotiating salaries and compensation packages. In 2018 this was revised, updated, and was released as Know Your Value. Her third book, Obsessed: America's Food Addiction and My Own, was published in 2012. In 2021, Forbes partnered with Brzezinski and her "Know Your Value" initiative, to shine a light on 50 diverse women over the age of 50 who have achieved significant success later in life, often by overcoming formidable odds or barriers.
- Firozi, Paulina (May 4, 2017). "'Morning Joe' co-hosts Scarborough and Brzezinski are engaged". The Hill. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
- "Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski And His Life On The World Stage". Morning Joe. MSNBC. May 30, 2017. Event occurs at 1:00. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021 – via YouTube.
- "Brzezinski, Mika". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H. W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 84–88. ISBN 9780824211134.
- Gavel, Doug (May 31, 2017). "MSNBC'S Morning Joe Hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski Join Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics as Fellows". Harvard Kennedy School (Press release). The President and Fellows of Harvard College. Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
- "Mika Brzezinski". MSNBC. June 13, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
- "Archived LEAD Events". Williams College. Retrieved August 28, 2023.
- Tucker, Ken (February 16, 2001). "The Spin Room, Hardball". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on June 5, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
- Pepitone, Julianne (September 10, 2019). "Mika reflects on 9/11: 'Everything changed in a moment'". Retrieved August 28, 2023.
- "Video of the MSNBC incident".
(dubbed by MSNBC "the journalistic shot heard round the world")
- "Paris Hilton script screwed up, burnt and shredded". The Telegraph. June 29, 2007. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007.
- "Newscaster's on-air Paris protest". BBC News.
- "The many times Donald Trump and 'Morning Joe' yukked it up". The Washington Post. December 10, 2015.
- Reisman, Sam (July 22, 2016). "Leaked Emails Show DNC Chair Told Chuck Todd Negative Coverage 'Must Stop'". Mediaite. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
- Hayden, Erik (December 9, 2016). "Mika Brzezinski Claims Clinton Camp Contacted NBC to Say She "Needed to Be Pulled Off the Air"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
- "'Morning Joe' bans Trump aide Kellyanne Conway: She's not credible anymore". New York Daily News. February 15, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Rubin, Jennifer (February 15, 2017). "Can we start ignoring whatever Conway and Spicer say?". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- Bowden, John (May 15, 2017). "'Morning Joe' hosts: Conway secretly hates Trump". The Hill. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Price, Greg (May 15, 2017). "Does Kellyanne Conway Hate Donald Trump? President's Adviser Called Out By 'morning Joe' Hosts". Newsweek. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Lange, Jeva (May 15, 2017). "Morning Joe hosts claim Kellyanne Conway detests working for Trump and is only in it for the money". The Week. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Borchers, Callum (May 4, 2017). "Trump was right about the romance between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. But also wrong". The Washington Post.
- Jagannathan, Meera (March 13, 2017). "President Trump unfollows 'Morning Joe' co-hosts on Twitter". New York Daily News.
- Scarry, Eddie (June 30, 2017). "Mika Brzezinski admits to chin surgery after Trump tweets about her 'face-lift'".
she had her chin "tweaked" but did not have a full "face-lift"
- Dale, Daniel (June 29, 2017). "'Bleeding badly from a face-lift': Donald Trump just tweeted sexist insults at a female TV host". Toronto Star.
- Donald J. Trump [@realDonaldTrump] (June 29, 2017). "I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came." (Tweet). Archived from the original on June 29, 2017 – via Twitter.
- Donald J. Trump [@realDonaldTrump] (June 29, 2017). "...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on June 29, 2017 – via Twitter.
- Jacobs, Ben (June 30, 2017). "Morning Joe co-hosts accuse White House of blackmail over tabloid story". The Guardian. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
- O'Connell, Oliver (May 20, 2020). "'Their policies being violated every day': Mika Brzezinski complains to Twitter about Trump's tweets after blasting 'sick' president on air". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 14, 2022. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- Johnson, Ted (May 20, 2020). "Mika Brzezinski Says "A Call Is Being Set Up" With Twitter Boss Jack Dorsey After Donald Trump Again Tweets Out Conspiracy Theory". Deadline. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- Swisher, Kara (May 26, 2020). "Opinion - Twitter Must Cleanse the Trump Stain". New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
- Donald Trump [@realDonaldTrump] (May 26, 2020). "Trump Thread" (Tweet). Retrieved May 26, 2020 – via Twitter.
- "Mark Halperin Enlists Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Michael Smerconish to Rehab His Career After Sexual Misconduct Scandal". The Daily Beast. May 3, 2019. Archived from the original on May 3, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
- Henney, Megan (December 15, 2018). "Mika Brzezinski controversy 'extremely troubling', Ric Grenell says". Fox Business.
- Concha, Joe (December 12, 2018). "Brzezinski apologizes after backlash over homophobic remark about Pompeo". The Hill.
- O'Neil, Luke (December 12, 2018). "Mika Brzezinski apologizes for calling Mike Pompeo a 'butt boy'". The Guardian.
- "WEDDINGS; Mika Brzezinski and Jim Hoffer". The New York Times. October 24, 1993.
- Corinthios, Aurelie (June 30, 2016). "Mika Brzezinski: MSNBC Co-Host Divorces Husband of 22 Years Jim Hoffer". People. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
- McDonald, Andy (November 25, 2018). "Joe Scarborough And Mika Brzezinski Secretly Got Married This Weekend". HuffPost.
- Firozi, Paulina (May 4, 2017). "'Morning Joe' co-hosts Scarborough and Brzezinski are engaged". The Hill. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
- Heil, Emily (November 25, 2018). "'Morning Joe' co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski marry in secret ceremony". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- Gross, Elana Lyn; Voytko, Lisette; McGrath, Maggie (June 2, 2021). "The New Golden Age". Forbes. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
- "Mika Brzezinski doktorem honoris causa Uniwersytetu SWPS". Uniwersytet SWPS (in Polish). July 26, 2022. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- All Things At Once. Weinstein Books. January 5, 2010. ISBN 9781602861114. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
- Schillinger, Liesl (January 7, 2010). "Mika Brzezinski: Her Way". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 21, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- Rapazian, Rita (January 29, 2010). "Mika Brzezinski urges readers go for 'All things at Once"™". The News-Times. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- Morges, Nanette (January 12, 2010). "Mika Brzezinski tackles 'All Things at Once'". The Hour. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- "Know Your Value". Morning Mika. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010.
- Brzezinski, Mika (September 2018). Know Your Value. Hachette Books. ISBN 978-1-60286-594-5.
Originally published in hardcover and ebook by Weinstein Books in April 2011. First revised and updated hardcover edition published by Hachette Books September 2018. (from copyright page)
- Brzezinski, Mika (May 7, 2013). "Obsessed: America's Food Addiction -- and My Own". Huff Post.
- "Highlighting Women Shattering Age And Gender Norms". Forbes. February 26, 2020. Retrieved February 27, 2021.