A newsmaker appears to have offended the LGBT community, embraced the work of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — and it is not President Trump.
Trump has done each of those things, but it now looks as though MSNBC host Joy Reid has, too, which creates a problem for the liberal commentator. With each revelation about old entries on her defunct blog, Reid is losing her standing to criticize the president — a core function of her weekly program.
BuzzFeed reported Thursday that a 2007 post on Reid's blog featured a photoshopped image of McCain's head on the body of Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho. The post mocked McCain, then a presidential candidate, for telling workers at a New Hampshire firearms factory that “I will follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, and I will shoot him with your products.”
How illustrating McCain as a domestic terrorist compares with saying “he's not a war hero,” as Trump did in 2015, is a matter of opinion. But both commentaries exceeded the bounds of standard political discourse.
BuzzFeed reported earlier this week that another Reid blog post, from 2006, promoted a film on which Jones was an executive producer. “Loose Change” contends that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were planned by the U.S. government, a false claim that Jones often repeats on his radio show and on his website, Infowars.
Jones has similarly claimed that the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut was a false flag operation. Trump was a guest on Jones's show in 2015 and praised the host for an “amazing” reputation.
Reid said in a statement Friday that her blog contains “things I deeply regret and am embarrassed by, things I would have said differently and issues where my position has changed.” She said she has “the highest respect for Sen. McCain as a public servant and patriot” and added “there is no question in my mind that al-Qaeda perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.”
Reid apologized in April for past transphobic tweets aimed at conservative commentator Ann Coulter.
“I want to apologize to the trans community and to Ann,” Reid said on her show. “Those tweets were wrong and horrible.”
Trump said last year that he would block transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity.” A federal judge later ruled against a blanket ban, and Trump in March issued an amended order that would allow some, but not all, transgender people to serve.
While Reid acknowledged the tweets about Coulter and said she has “not been exempt from being dumb or cruel or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for,” she also denied writing other homophobic comments on her blog, claiming some were planted by hackers.
“I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things because they are completely alien to me,” Reid told viewers. “But I can definitely understand, based on things I have tweeted and I have written in the past, why some people don't believe me.”
Trust is one issue for Reid. Another is whether viewers will continue to see her as someone in a position to take Trump to task.
This post has been updated with a statement from Reid.