There has never been a more highly anticipated episode of “poorly rated Morning Joe,” as President Donald Trump calls it, than the one that aired this morning.
Co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were supposed to be off on a July 4th vacation, but they changed their plans so they could respond live on air to Trump’s incendiary tweets.
As a reminder to anyone who was living under a rock Thursday, the president tweeted these comments just as Morning Joe ended, as to ensure they could not respond on television:
That gave the co-hosts a full 24 hours to decide exactly how to respond. And after putting out an op-ed in The Washington Post Friday morning in which they concluded Trump is “not mentally equipped to continue watching our show,” they made viewers wait until the program’s second hour, leaving NBC News’ Willie Geist to inform viewers at 6 a.m. that they would not be there until 7 a.m. to address the situation.
“We’re supposed to be on vacation, but we’re here,” Brzezinski said. Instead of going to Boston, she said, “it was me and TMZ and my dogs on the streets.”
“It’s been fascinating and frightening and really sad for our country,” Brzezinski added. “I mean, I’ve been getting a lot of texts and hearing you all talking. Thank you. I’m fine. My family brought me up really, really tough. This is absolutely nothing, for me, personally. But I am very concerned as to what this once again reveals about the president of the United States. It’s strange.”
Scarborough added that he found it “funny” how many people were calling and texting to see how he and Brzezinski were holding up. “We’re OK,” he said. “The country is not.” When he first saw the tweets, he thought, “This has to be a joke. The president of the United States, as bad as he’s been in the past, he hasn’t really gone over the cliff. Then, unfortunately, we learned what we’ve always learned. And that is that he, for some reason, takes things so much more personally with women. He’s so much more vicious with women.”
No matter what Scarborough says about Trump, he always seems to go after Brzezinski instead. “And it’s always personal with Mika,” he said. “And he packed about five lies into the tweets, which very productive—two tweets to pack five or six lies into two tweets—but yesterday was another example of how deeply personal he is. He attacks women because he fears women.”
Looking at the “big picture,” Brzezinski noted that her father just passed away, her mother has had two heart attacks, her daughter just lost a friend. “Those are the things I’m really worried about,” she said. “Those are the things that really deeply impact me, and leave me thinking about at night, and hurting and worrying and thinking about the future. The president’s tweets? Whether they’re personally aimed at me or aimed at me in some way, that doesn’t bother me one bit. It does worry me about the country.”
Brzezinski went on to describe Trump as having a “fragile, child-like ego” that cannot handle criticism over something as ridiculous as the fake Time magazine cover he hands at his golf resorts. “The White House claims we attack him,” she said of Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ bizarre response at Thursday’s briefing. “No, we report on his lies. We are upset when he doesn’t tell the truth and he bullies people. That is true.”
She knew that Trump would be bothered by their jokes about the Time cover, but she did not imagine it would go this far. “It is unbelievably alarming that this president is so easily played,” she said. “He’s so easily played by a cable news host. Now, what is that saying to our allies? What is that saying to our enemies? That this president is so easily played?”
The group’s live reaction to Trump’s tweets continued uninterrupted for more than 30 minutes before Brzezinski and Scarborough decided it was finally time for them to leave for their much-needed vacation.