A pair of infelicitous tweets from President Trump directed at the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” sent the mainstream media into a frenzy Thursday morning.
On a day of significant importance for the White House — revised Senate healthcare bill to be released, travel ban goes into effect, House votes on “Kate’s Law” and sanctuary cities legislation — the president began his day with an update on Twitter about improving U.S.-Mexico trade relations.
But within a half-hour, the president had turned his attention on a couple of his old frenemies: MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
Trump first lashed out at the show, claiming it “speaks badly” of him. He then proceeded to rip into the show’s hosts, attacking “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and “Psycho Joe” for wanting to spend time with him at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., around New Year’s Eve.
He ended by mocking Brzezinski for her appearance at the time, saying she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”
Falling for the bait, reporters rushed to defend their colleagues and hit back at Trump. Coverage of the new Mexico-U.S. trade deal, immigration policy, healthcare bill and travel ban was temporarily pushed to the back burner.
Here are a few responses to President Trump’s comments from those in the news-making business:
And, of course, not to be outdone by the press, lawmakers — from both sides of the aisle — also jumped into the fray.
Shortly after Trump sent out his two tweets, the No. 2 trafficked news site in the U.S., Drudge Report, updated its banner with a picture of Scarborough and Brzezinski alongside a headline that read: “Trump: MSNBC Mika Was ‘Bleeding.'” Major news outlets quickly followed suit, devoting their featured news sections to stories about the tweets.
For example, here are the front pages of CNN.com, Washington Post and ABC News within an hour after President Trump tweeted:
I’m not defending President Trump’s tweets; but I’m not jumping on the “destroy Trump” bandwagon, either.
MSNBC has been the poster child in recent months for how the left-wing media should go about attacking President Trump — and no one has done a better job of that than Mika Brzezinski.
In Sept. 2016, Brzezinski mocked Trump’s weight on air. In February, Brzezinski called Trump a “small person,” saying he has no curiosity, humility or humor. Again in February, she wondered aloud if the Trump administration was “trying to create a dictatorship.” In April, her co-host, Joe Scarborough questioned Trump’s mental health; Brzezinski hinted at the same in May.
I could keep adding to the list, but you get the point.
The notion that Brzezinski is incapable of defending herself from Trump’s verbal attacks when she’s been the one peddling vicious attacks at him for more than a year on her show is laughable. In fact, she proved this morning that she’s quite capable of fighting her own Twitter war by tweeting in response a derogatory meme about the president’s hands.
We have to stop trying to fit President Trump into our own imaginary boxes. We have a preconceived idea about what acting “presidential” looks like, and when Trump does something that doesn’t conform with that standard, we feel frustrated because he’s not fitting the mold that we envision.
If one thing is clear by now, it’s that the president doesn’t appreciate the press circulating false rumors and misleading stories about him or his administration.
To combat the fake news, President Trump clearly feels an obligation to remind the media that he’s not like every other Republican — he’s not going to back down without a fight.
For better or worse, that’s the man America elected.