WATCH: Morning Joe panel blisters Mike Pence for endorsing disgraced sheriff
Mike Pence (Photo: by Michael Vadon/Flickr)

Columnist Mike Lupica called out Vice President Mike Pence as a phony in a blistering appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."


Host Joe Scarborough asked Lupica, a New York Daily News columnist and author, to comment on Pence's campaign appearance for pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio and asked whether the vice president had abandoned his role as the "moral grounding" for the Trump administration.

"Who thought that?" Lupica said. "Who actually thought that about Mike Pence, looking at his record and the things that he said and the things that he did when he was the governor of Indiana?"

Lupica condemned Pence's endorsement of Arpaio -- who was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to stop racially profiling Hispanic people -- as a “tireless champion of … the rule of law.”

"I watched that thing today and I just thought of an old country-western line, 'from the gutter to you is not up,'" Lupica said. "Because if you'll say that about Arpaio, what won't you say? If you'll glorify a guy who makes a 'Smoky and the Bandit' sheriff look like the Fletcher School of Diplomacy, what won't you say to further your own ambition?"

Co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed Pence's comments were "pathetic," and MSNBC analyst Mike Barnicle said the daily outrages were too exhausting for Americans to follow -- but MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle said they should be disgusted by the vice president's moral hypocrisy.

"Mike Pence might say he sides with Jesus, but he's not siding with decency -- and Jesus was a decent man," Ruhle said.

Lupica said he'd like to hear what Jesus has to say about Pence and some of President Donald Trump's other right-wing Christian enablers.

"You always want to get Jesus to weigh in on those guys who say they're as close as they are, and say, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa -- I didn't say what he said I said,'" Lupica said.