MSNBC host: Rubio blocked judicial nomination because he was ‘openly gay black trial judge’

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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There MSNBC goes again.

On his primetime show “All In” Tuesday, Chris Hayes accused Florida Sen. Marco Rubio of blocking the nomination of Judge William Thomas to the federal bench in order to pander to the “right wing” by blocking a gay black man.

Hayes explained that since Rubio earned the ire of some in the conservative base by supporting the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, he is now attempting to win that constituency back by pandering to it. And since, according to Hayes, the conservative base loves nothing more than blocking gay black judges from making it to the federal bench, Rubio pulled his support for Thomas, who would be the first openly gay black federal judge.

“And now Marco Rubio can say with pride to his base that he successfully blocked the first openly gay black trial judge in American history,” Hayes said. “These are what the victories for congressional Republicans look like these days. Not implementing some affirmative policy victory but successfully hurting someone or some group of people. Food stamp recipients. The long-term unemployed. A qualified out gay black man who was within a hair’s breadth of the federal bench.”

To back up his case, Hayes presented no evidence that the conservative base opposed Thomas because he was a black homosexual, or that Rubio blocked him for that reason.

If Florida conservatives are as racist as Hayes suggests, they certainly have a strange way of showing it. Former Florida Rep. Allen West, an African American, is one of the most beloved political figures in the state among conservatives. This bigoted Florida conservative base also helped elect Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants.

A spokesman for Rubio told the New York Times way back in September that he was reversing his support for Thomas not because he was a black homosexual, but because the senator questioned Thomas’ “judicial temperament” and “his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences.”

Whether Rubio’s spokesman presented the senator’s real motivations or not, one would hope that there would be a greater standard than mere supposition for a host with a national audience — albeit a very, very, very tiny one — to go on air and suggest racism and homophobia were the primary factor for a politician’s position.

Hayes statement comes after a series of MSNBC hosts have gotten in trouble for outrageous comments over the last several months. In November, MSNBC host Martin Bashir, who has since resigned, suggested that Sarah Palin deserved to have someone defecate in her mouth. That same month, MSNBC ended Alec Baldwin’s show after the actor was caught on camera making an anti-gay slur. Just last this weekend, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry apologized on air for mocking Mitt Romney for having adopted a black grandson.

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