Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cut off an interview Thursday with Michael Wolff, the author of “Fire and Fury,” after the two got into a heated exchange over a veiled suggestion by Wolff that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was having an affair with President Donald Trump.
Haley has vehemently denied the suggestion, and Brzezinski accused Wolff of disparaging her.
Wolff first raised the issue publicly in an appearance last week on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.”
Wolff, without naming Haley, told Maher that he was “absolutely sure” the president was having an affair but did not have enough proof to put it in the book, adding that there was a hint toward the end of the book.
In his best-selling behind-the-scenes account of the first months of the Trump White House, Wolff wrote, “The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future.”
On Maher’s show, Wolff, while still suggesting that the insinuation was hidden, said, “Now that I've told you, when you hit that paragraph, you're gonna say, 'Bingo.’”
Days later, Haley denied the rumor on a podcast appearance with Politico, calling it “disgusting” and “absolutely not true.”
On “Morning Joe” on Thursday, Brzezinski told Wolff: “You might be having a fun time playing a little game dancing around this, but you’re slurring a woman. It’s disgraceful.”
Wolff responded that Haley “has been accused of nothing — she has decided to deny what she has not been accused of.”
“Certainly I have not accused her of this,” he added.
“Come on, are you kidding?” Brzezinski said. “You’re on the set of ‘Morning Joe,’ we don’t B.S. here.”
“Read me the language,” Wolff said.
“Are you kidding me? I’m not reading you anything,” Brzezinski responded.
Brzezinski then moved to cut off the interview.
“If you don’t get what we’re talking about -- I’m sorry, this is awkward, you’re here on the set with us, but we’re done,” she said. “Michael Wolff, thank you. We’re going to go to break now.”
Moments later, Wolff shot back at Brzezinski in a series of tweets.
“To be invited on a show with the purpose of being thrown off … is the new television. In other words, I had to say what Mika wanted me to say, or else … the hook!” he wrote.
“And let me repeat: Nikki Haley has chosen to vociferously deny something she was not accused of,” Wolff said.
Wolff added that the last time he was on “Morning Joe,” Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough were “eager to gossip about who Trump might be sleeping with.”
“It really would be hard to gossip more eagerly off camera than Mika and Joe gossip,” Wolff tweeted.
Errol Cockfield, senior vice president for communications at MSNBC, declined to comment on the exchange. The White House did not imediately respond to a request for comment.