Chris Matthews Thinks Mike Bloomberg Too Busy Chopping Down Cherry Trees To Lie About Mistreating Women
Political pundits might've forgotten Elizabeth Warren is running for president, but she still showed up at last night's Democratic debate in South Carolina. That wasn't good news for Mike Bloomberg. During the throwdown in Charleston, Warren mentioned how she'd lost a teaching job almost 50 years ago because she was pregnant. She tied this injustice to her favorite new punching bag.
WARREN: At least I didn't have a boss who said to me, "Kill it," the way that Mayor Bloomberg alleged to have said to one of his pregnant employees.
Bloomberg denied on national television having ever said this, which might've been a trap Warren set for him.
The Massachusetts senator later sat down for a migraine-inducing, post-debate interview on MSNBC with Chris Matthews, who was shocked Warren would believe a "former New York City mayor" would say something so dehumanizing and misogynistic. Warren reiterated that she believed the woman who stated as much under oath.
WARREN: I'm just really tired of this world. This one is personal for me. It really is.
Matthews refused to let Warren finish more than three sentences -- women get the right to vote and they just won't shut up, huh? He then talked over her and sweet Christ was everything he said stupid.
MATTHEWS: You believe he's that kind of person?
Did we miss where Bloomberg was Mr. Rogers? This is reminiscent of the Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, where Republicans defended the honor of some guy they'd just met on account of his excellent white guy references.
Warren proceeded to explain the real world to Matthews like she'd just unplugged him from a Matrix program set in a 1940s Frank Capra film.
WARREN: Pregnancy discrimination is real. We have gone on and on and on where people say, "Oh, I can't believe the woman." Really? Why not? Mayor Bloomberg has non-disclosure agreements for who knows how many women. And it's not just the one. The whole point is how can you actually trust someone who'll not just say, "Look, I'm gonna waive non-disclosure on sexual harassment and anybody who has a story to tell can come tell the story."
MATTHEWS: Sure, I agree that everybody deserves a credible response when they make a charge like that. My question about him is you believe he's lying.
Matthews insisted on centering Bloomberg, and unfortunately, this reaction isn't unique. It's the man's "honor" at stake and not the woman's dignity. This puts the woman making the accusation in the defensive position. How many women have heard variations of "why are you trying to ruin this guy's life?"
Warren again had to stress that this isn't about Bloomberg personally but the pregnant employee he allegedly bullied.
WARREN: I believe the woman, which means he's not telling the truth.
MATTHEWS: Why would he lie? Just to protect himself?
Gee, Sherlock, maybe the reason Bloomberg might "lie" about telling a pregnant woman to kill her unborn child is that it's a repulsive and horrible thing to say. This isn't what you want prominently featured in your memoirs. It's not like Bloomberg is some Star Trek android whose programming forbids him to lie, and Lt. Commander Data would never make such gross comments in the first place. Just so no one forgets, this is what Bloomberg is accused of saying to another human life form.
On April 11, 1995 at approximately 11:20 a.m., Bloomberg was having a photograph taken with two female Company salespeople and a group of N.Y.U. Business School students, in the company snack area. When Bloomberg noticed [Sekiko Sakai] Garrison standing nearby, he asked, "Why didn't they ask you to be in the picture? I guess they saw your face." Continuing his penchant for ridiculing recently married women in his employ, Bloomberg asked plaintiff, "How's married life? You married?" Plaintiff responded that her marriage was great and was going to get better in a few months: that she was pregnant, and the baby was due the following September. He responded to her "Kill it!" Plaintiff asked Bloomberg to repeat himself, and again he said, "Kill it!" and muttered, "Great! Number 16!" suggesting to plaintiff his unhappiness that sixteen women in the Company had maternity-related status. Then he walked away.
Warren's response to Matthews's incredibly naive and insulting question was wonderful.
WARREN: Why would she lie?
This stunned Matthews into a blissful but unfortunately brief silence. He'd apparently never considered that the billionaire would have more reason to lie than the woman he could professionally and financially ruin with a couple phone calls.
WARREN: That's the question, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Just want to make sure you're clear about this. You're confident of your accusation.
Warren was a damn law school professor. She's "clear" about what she's saying. She didn't stutter. She's not gossiping at the beauty parlor. Another employee witnessed the derisive comments Bloomberg made to Sekiko Sakai Garrison, and Bloomberg reached a confidential settlement with the former saleswoman. The question isn't why Bloomberg would lie but why Matthews is so obsessed with believing he didn't. It's not much of a stumper if you recall what Matthews himself has said about women, including our last Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).