Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC hosts at whom President Donald Trump lobbed personal attacks on Twitter Thursday morning, responded Friday in a Washington Post op-ed, writing that the president “is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show.”
Trump made regular appearances on the duo’s show, “Morning Joe,” throughout the early phases of his presidential campaign, often calling into the program to talk with Scarborough and Brzezinski, claiming a friendly relationship with both hosts. But that relationship soured as Trump’s campaign progressed, with “Morning Joe” growing increasingly critical of the president’s incendiary rhetoric and Trump responding with attacks against the hosts.
Thursday morning, the president once again attacked Scarborough and Brzezinski, calling the former “psycho Joe” and the latter “low I.Q. crazy Mike.” Of Brzezinski, the president also said she had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a meeting the three had at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida around New Year’s Eve.
“President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal. America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president,” the pair wrote in their Post op-ed. “The president’s unhealthy obsession with ‘Morning Joe’ does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs.”
Contained within his two tweets about the hosts and their show were multiple falsehoods, Brzezinski and Scarborough wrote. The two did not ask to meet with Trump on three consecutive nights at Mar-a-Lago, as Trump wrote. Instead, Scarborough had come just twice, both times at the president’s request, and Brzezinski had reluctantly joined him just one of those times.
And while the duo said Brzezinski had had “a little skin under her chin tweaked,” they wrote that she has never had a face-lift, as the president suggested in his Twitter posts. Her face does not show signs of any medical procedure in photographs from the evenings in question, the pair wrote.
And despite Trump’s repeated insistences that he does not watch “Morning Joe,” Scarborough and Brzezinski said they are told by White House advisers that he still does. “That is unfortunate,” they said. “We believe it would be better for America and the rest of the world if he would keep his 60-inch-plus flat-screen TV tuned to ‘Fox & Friends,’” the Fox News morning show where the president receives almost unflinchingly positive coverage.
While the president’s Twitter outburst on Thursday has refocused the spotlight on his social media habits and his relationship with the MSNBC duo, it is far from the first time he has attacked Brzezinski and Scarborough online. Trump has often gone after Brzezinski in particular, writing at various points that she had “gone wild with hate,” was “very insecure” and a “neurotic and not very bright mess.”
“It is disturbing that the president of the United States keeps up his unrelenting assault on women,” Brzezinski and Scarborough wrote, recalling Trump’s past feuds with former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.
“We have known Mr. Trump for more than a decade and have some fond memories of our relationship together,” they wrote, noting that during the campaign, Scarborough said he had heard from those close to Trump who said he had become erratic.
“We, too, have noticed a change in his behavior over the past few years. Perhaps that is why we were neither shocked nor insulted by the president’s personal attack,” they wrote. “The Donald Trump we knew before the campaign was a flawed character but one who still seemed capable of keeping his worst instincts in check.”