'Morning Joe' Hosts Join IOP as Visiting Fellows

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of “Morning Joe”—MSNBC’s weekday morning news and talk show—will serve as visiting fellows at the Institute of Politics beginning this summer.

Scarborough, a Republican who served in Congress from 1995 to 2001 and Brzezinski, a Democrat and best-selling author, have hosted the popular show together since 2007.

“For several years, Morning Joe has been at the forefront of covering millennials in politics, and at Harvard they will engage directly with the young people who will reconnect America and serve as future political leaders,” Bill Delahunt, interim director of the Institute of Politics, wrote in a press release.

Their fellowship appointments will begin this summer with an IOP event in Washington, D.C. Unlike the IOP’s residents fellows, who live in Cambridge full-time and host weekly study groups in their areas of expertise, visiting fellows travel to campus for events with students and the larger Harvard community throughout the semester.

As a fellow, Brezinski will work with Harvard researchers on two books: one on millennial women and one on women making comebacks in their careers.

Scarborough and Brzezinski—who were recently engaged—are no strangers to the IOP. They spoke at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum in 2010 and 2012 and have visited study groups as guests.

Brzezinski said the duo is eager to listen and learn about student perspectives on the media and politics in a time of “great stress and upheaval.”

“It raises questions about how news is gathered, disseminated and consumed—it would be fascinating to have that conversation with the future,” she said.

Scarborough said he has noticed that many schools are stuck in “inward intellectual bubbles just like the media has been in ideological bubbles.” He hopes to encourage students to question their assumptions.

“To strengthen your position… you have to expose yourself to people with whom you disagree,” Scarborough said.

IOP Director of Polling John Della Volpe, who has appeared on Morning Joe to discuss Harvard Political Opinion Project findings, said the show “has really really played a significant role in elevating the stature of the youth vote, specifically in presidential politics.”

Volpe said the two will also bring a unique perspective with their experiences covering President Donald Trump from “a friend to a candidate to a president.”

According to Vanity Fair, Trump offered to officiate their wedding at Mar-a-Lago or the White House.

Colleagues for most of a decade, Scarborough and Brzezinski ended speculation about off-air romance by announcing their engagement last month. And now they look forward to engaging Harvard students in discussion.

IOP Fellows and Study Groups Program Student Co-Chairs Emily M. Hall ‘18 and Jason Ge ‘18—two of the students on the selection committee—said they are thrilled to have Scarborough and Brzezinski on campus this fall.

Hall said they were natural candidates because of their longstanding relationship with the IOP and their interest in young people.

“We think we’ll have a lot of student impact from their visits and a lot of students attending,” Hall said.

Ge said that the pair’s bipartisan background was appealing.

“Having two people of different political views who work together so well is a pretty important thing for us,” said Ge.

Brzezinski’s father, Zbigniew Brzezinski—national security advisor to former President Jimmy Carter and a former Harvard instructor—passed away a few days prior to the IOP announcement.

“One of Mika’s biggest regret of her father passing when he did was that he never got to see her go up to Harvard,” said Scarborough. “Mika and I weren’t the best of students.”

“He would have been very amused,” said Brzezinski. “Maybe we’ll learn something this time.”

“I think we have a much better chance of learning this time,” said Scarborough.

—Staff writer Sarah Wu can be reached at sarah.wu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @sarah_wu_.