President Trump launched a cruel personal attack on MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-hosts and love birds Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Thursday morning, rather than deal with his health-care bill seemingly on death’s door.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore),” the president tweeted minutes before the MSNBC morning show’s broadcast—which had been critical of the president—completed.
Then Trump christened new nicknames for his one-time pals and tossed out an insult aimed at Brzezinski’s looks:
“Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
Within minutes, Brzezinski shot back with a photograph showing text on the back side of a Cheerios cereal box: “Made for Little Hands,” a reference to the common refrain that President Trump has unusually small hands.
The president’s tirade appears to have been inspired by Brzezinski and her colleagues mocking the news that Trump has a fake Time magazine cover of himself displayed at several of his properties.
“Nothing makes a man feel better than making a fake cover of a magazine about himself, lying every day, and destroying the country,” she said, later joking that the faux-cover’s photo was specially selected to cover up Trump’s “teensy” hands.
“It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying, and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job,” MSNBC responded. The network’s head of PR wrote on Twitter that he “never imagined a day when I would think to myself, ‘it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States.’”
First Lady Melania Trump’s office defended the president's outburst in a statement: “As First Lady has stated publicly... when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder.” This comes despite Melania’s pre-inauguration promise to dedicate her powers to fighting cyberbullying.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders additionally told Fox News: “This is a president who fights fire with fire.”
Behind closed doors the tone was different. Senior aides to the president have tried and failed for months to find new ways to distract the president from cable-news and social media and bring some level of control to his tweets. On Thursday they responded to the tweetstorm with a mix of resignation and gallows humor.
"This is who the president is," one official noted, adding the tweets were at least better than those about the travel ban or James Comey.
"At least you're writing [about] this and not that we're going to kill millions of people," another White House official said, referencing the awful coverage of Trumpcare.
The very-public personal war marks the complete and total collapse of what was once a fruitful friendship between the real-estate mogul-cum-president and the MSNBC hosts. During the 2016 Republican primaries, Morning Joe was often accused of being “too cozy” with Trump, allegedly tossing only softball questions at their fellow New York celebrity and “friend of the show.”
That relationship took a markedly sour turn just months before the election when then-nominee Trump threatened on Twitter to expose “the real story of [Scarborough] and his very insecure long-time girlfriend [Brzezinski]. Two clowns!” in response to an on-air segment expressing skepticism of a stump speech he’d delivered.
From there, the bromance officially died as the Trump administration took office and repeatedly failed every standard laid forth by the Morning Joe hosts. “This White House is a joke,” Brzezinski famously declared on-air in March after Trump accused President Obama of having wiretapped him. “This administration has no credibility,” she added.
Trump’s comment about Brzezinski’s alleged “face-lift” is just the latest in the president’s long history of using sexist insults to bash his female critics.
During the 2016 campaign alone, Trump responded to then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s tough questions about his past sexism by remarking that she had “blood coming out of her wherever,” maligned fellow GOP candidate Carly Fiorina by declaring “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” and tweeted an unflattering photograph of rival Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi suggesting she was ugly in comparison to his wife Melania.