“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough defended former Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Steele on Monday after it was alleged he only received his job because he was black – but the MSNBC star sang a different tune nearly a decade ago.
Last week, CPAC communications chief Ian Walters said Steele, RNC chairman from 2009 to 2011, was elected “because he’s a black guy,” adding that it was the “wrong thing to do.” CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp told Steele the words were “unfortunate” on Saturday during a Sirius XM radio show and Scarborough took to Twitter to condemn the remark.
“It was insulting, depressing and bizarre,” Scarborough tweeted.
Scarborough expressed further disgust toward the theory on Monday when Steele joined “Morning Joe” to discuss the comment. Scarborough and Steele dissected the situation, mocking Schlapp for comments made on the Sirius XM appearance.
“We were all stunned that somebody said it was a mistake to select you as the head of the Republican Party because you were black,” Scarborough told Steele, according to TheWrap.
Scarborough also said Steele ran the Republican Party “during their most successful run,” pointing to a “record-setting legislative landslide” as evidence.
However, TheWrap reporter Jon Levine unearthed a 2009 segment from the MSNBC morning show when Scarborough had a different opinion about Steele.
“You know what the Republicans are learning right now? That sometimes being black isn’t enough,” Scarborough said at the time, while mocking Steele for a dispute he had with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
“They thought, ‘We’re going to get a black guy to run our party,’” Scarborough continued as co-host Mika Brzezinski appeared to be embarrassed by his rant.
Scarborough served in the House of Representatives for the 1st district of Florida from 1995 until 2001 before stepping down, saying he wanted to spend more time with his children. He landed on MSNBC in 2003 and launched “Morning Joe” in 2007.
A lot has changed since Scarborough’s comments in 2009, as he no longer considers himself a Republican and is now engaged to be married to Brzezinski.
MSNBC did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Fox News’ Joseph Weber contributed to this report.