Trump launches personal attack on 2 media critics on Twitter

Updated June 29, 2017 - 5:03 pm

WASHINGTON — Thursday morning as President Donald Trump should have been pushing full speed ahead for the passage of the Senate’s health care bill, the president took a nasty detour on Twitter with a highly personal salvo against two media critics.

Trump’s targets: the hosts of the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who have been highly critical of Trump since he took office.

It began with two tweets: “I hear poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). 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!”

Once again, Trump displayed a schoolyard bully’s vocabulary and a fixation for female blood – and his supporters were left to defend or run away from the president’s taunts.

First lady Melania Trump, who has said she wants to use her position to speak out against bullying, came to his defense. “As the first lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” a spokeswoman said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to distance himself when he said, “I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” especially when others are trying to “improve the tone, the civility of debate.”

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she thought the tweets were “blatantly sexist” — and it was “beneath the dignity of the president of the United States to engage in such behavior.”

And Illinois Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger wrote on Twitter: “Mr. President, it is incumbent upon ALL of us to tone down this divisive political rhetoric.#RestoreCivility.”

But a White House spokeswoman defended Trump’s tweets. “The American people elected a fighter,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at Thursday’s press briefing, and “they knew what they were getting when they voted for Donald Trump.”

The MSNBC show, Sanders added, has made “deeply personal attacks” on the president and press staff, including her.

“Frankly, if this had happened in the previous administration, the type of attacks launched on this president” — anchors commenting on Trump’s intelligence and mental stability — then “the rest of the media would have said, ‘Guys, no way, hold on.’ But nobody does that.”

As for Brzezinski, she responded on Twitter by posting a photograph of a Cheerios box that included the phrase “made for little hands.” People looking to get under the president’s skin have long suggested that his hands appear small for his frame.

It wasn’t the first time Trump has assailed a television personality who is a woman. In 2015, he went after then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly when she questioned him at a debate. Trump said later that during the exchange, Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever.”

Public speaking coach Ruth Sherman agrees with those who argue that Trump’s tweet storms don’t hurt him with his base. “But even the base,” she said, “I would imagine, are doing a few eye-rolls, or thinking, ‘Yeah, we still like him. We think he’s going to get the job done, but we really wish he would act more presidential.’”

The other down side, she added is that “it conveys and communicates to the public he’s not working on the important things. He’s too distracted by these little things.”

The latest flare-up did nothing to improve Trump’s chances of advancing the health care bill that formed a centerpiece of his campaign.

Tweeted Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a frequent Trump critic: “Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office.”

Contact Debra J. Saunders at or at 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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