Hillary Clinton’s campaign is threatening to boycott future debates on MSNBC after one of its correspondents suggested the campaign had “pimped out” Chelsea Clinton by having her place phone calls to Democratic Party superdelegates on her mother’s behalf.
In a conference call with reporters Friday, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson excoriated MSNBC’s David Shuster for making the comment, which he called “beneath contempt” and disgusting.
“I, at this point, can’t envision a scenario where we would continue to engage in debates on that network given that comment,” he said.
Shuster said on air Thursday: “Doesn’t it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?”
Shuster has since been temporarily suspended and apologized on air twice Friday.
“I used a phrase that was inappropriate. I apologize to the Clinton family, the Clinton campaign and all of you who are justifiably offended,” he said Friday evening on “Tucker.”
“As I said this morning on MSNBC, all Americans should be proud of Chelsea Clinton, and I am particularly sorry that my language diminished the regard and the respect she has earned from all of us, and the respect her parents have earned in how they raised her,” he said.
Outside of the apology, MSNBC said he would not be allowed on air.
“NBC News takes these matters seriously, and offers our sincere regrets to the Clintons for the remarks,” MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said, adding the network was hopeful the debate would take place as planned.
But the debate is still up in the air. Clinton and Barack Obama were scheduled to participate in an MSNBC debate Feb. 26 in Ohio, one of just two debates Obama has consented to before March 4, when Ohio and other states hold primaries.
The Clinton campaign has pushed hard for as many debates as possible with Obama, but Wolfson said the Feb. 26 debate could be jeopardized.
Wolfson pointed to what he called a pattern of tasteless comments by MSNBC anchors about the Clinton campaign. Weeks ago, “Hardball” host Chris Matthews apologized to the former first lady after suggesting her political career had been made possible her husband’s philandering.
Wolfson said neither Chelsea nor Sen. Clinton had received a phone call offering a personal apology, even though Shuster told The Associated Press he’s tried to reach Clinton to do so.
“I’m not familiar with any apology,” Wolfson said, during a call where the campaign also announced raising more than $8 million online since Super Tuesday. “It’s the kind of thing that should never be said on a national news network.”
FOX News’ Aaron Bruns and The Associated Press contributed to this report.