The first tweet contained the standard name-calling fare from President Trump, the sort of assaults that not shock most individuals — labeling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” as “poorly rated” and calling its hosts “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and “Psycho Joe.”
But the second tweet, touchdown about six minutes later, prompted a direct and sustained uproar, because it contained a deeply private and vulgar assault on Mika Brzezinski.
“She was bleeding badly from a face-lift,” the president tweeted Thursday morning, claiming that months earlier, Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough tried to spend time with him at his personal membership in Florida. “I said no!”
Those phrases amounted to maybe probably the most caustic insult that Trump has publicly hurled at one other American since taking workplace, going past his standard name-calling and flame-throwing. More than three dozen Republicans and Democrats in Congress issued tweets of their very own expressing disgust, calling the comment “unpresidential,” “vile, sexist and unbecoming of an American leader,” “divisive,” “unhinged and shameful” and “amazingly graceless.” Even a number of the president’s shut allies warned that he wanted to behave like a president and cease moving into distracting fights.
And by going after a strong feminine journalist’s look and psychological health, Trump not solely distracted the nation from his legislative agenda for a full information cycle however added yet one more knowledge level to the argument that he treats women in a different way than males.
“It is really not normal that the president of the United States and the commander-in-chief would be tweeting about somebody’s face,” stated Liz Mair, a longtime Republican strategist and critic of the president. “It does not conform with the norms that we expect and we treat as pretty set in stone in this country, but it’s also just strange.”
Trump’s employees shortly got here to his protection, saying that Brzezinski and Scarborough have stated far worse issues about the president and his employees.
“Look, I don’t think you can expect someone to be personally attacked day after day, minute by minute, and sit back,” deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders informed reporters on the White House. “Look, the American people elected a fighter. . . . They knew what they were getting when they voted for Donald Trump.”
Trump as soon as had a chummy relationship with “Morning Joe,” frequently calling in for prolonged interviews, referring to Brzezinski and Scarborough as “supporters” and providing to officiate their wedding ceremony. But the hosts have turn into more and more important. For months, Brzezinski has raised questions about the president’s psychological health, calling him “possibly unfit mentally” and saying that he is “such a narcissist, it’s possible that he is mentally ill in a way.”
On Thursday morning, Brzezinski stated that if somebody took over NBC and acted as Trump has — “tweeting wildly about people’s appearances, bullying people, talking about people in the competition, lying every day, undermining his managers” — that “there would be concern that perhaps the person who runs the company is out of his mind.”
Sanders pointed to such rhetoric in her protection of Trump. “The things that this show has called him — and not just him, but numerous members of his staff, including myself and many others,” Sanders stated. “It’s kind of like we’re living in the Twilight Zone. They do this day after day after day, and then the president responds and defends himself, and everybody is appalled and blown away.”
Later within the day, Sanders’s father, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, stated in a Fox News interview that the president “makes my daughter’s job very difficult with tweets like that.”
Less than half an hour after Trump fired off the tweet, Brzezinski responded by tweeting a photograph of a Cheerios cereal field together with the caption: “Made for Little Hands.” The message appeared to be aimed toward mocking the dimensions of the president’s palms — a sensitive topic for Trump that has dogged him for many years and even got here up throughout a GOP presidential debate.
Mark Kornblau, the NBCUniversal News Group’s senior vice chairman for communications, tweeted: “Never imagined a day when I would think to myself, ‘it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States.’ ” The firm later launched a press release saying: “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.”
The tweet marked a brand new low in presidential historical past, stated Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University.
“We make a big deal that Harry Truman told off a newspaper critic for writing a bad review of his daughter’s music concert,” he stated. “How G-rated is that compared to what Donald Trump has done?”
Dozens of lawmakers from each events, activists, political pundits and others rushed to condemn the president’s feedback. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted: “This has to stop — we all have a job — 3 branches of gov’t and media. We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.”
The tweets additionally got here up in information conferences and interviews on Capitol Hill, the place most lawmakers would have a lot moderately mentioned immigration and health-care laws.
“Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) stated throughout a information convention. “What we’re trying to do around here is improve the civility and tone of the debate, and this obviously does not do that.”
Laura Ingraham, the conservative commentator who has thought-about working in Trump’s administration, tweeted: “MESSAGE DISCIPLINE!” She added that the White House ought to have spent Thursday targeted on two immigration-related payments that handed within the House and “not cable TV hosts.”
Bill O’Reilly, the previous Fox News character and a longtime good friend of Trump, stated on Ingraham’s radio present that the president is undermining his personal message. “It’s kind of discouraging for Americans who want important things to get done to be sidetracked by something like this,” he stated.
The president claimed in his tweets that Brzezinski and Scarborough tried to spend time with him at Mar-a-Lago over three days round New Year’s Eve. The two have been noticed by journalists at Trump’s New Year’s Eve get together on the personal membership, and Scarborough stated on the time that they have been there to arrange an interview with the president-elect. A routine-looking photograph of Brzezinski from that night time circulated on Twitter on Thursday displaying her smiling broadly.
The president’s tweet was harking back to different feedback that he made about women on the marketing campaign path — together with his rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, whom he accused of not wanting presidential and missing the “stamina” wanted for the job. He made enjoyable of GOP rival Carly Fiorina’s face; tweeted a side-by-side comparability of his spouse and the spouse of then-rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.); and lashed out at Megyn Kelly of Fox News, saying that she had “blood coming out of her whatever” as she questioned him about feedback he had made about women throughout a debate. Since turning into president, Trump has additionally continued to name Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas” in mocking an issue over her ancestry.
Although Trump has boasted about the extent of help he has acquired from feminine voters, he is rather more well-liked amongst males. Many of the protests throughout his presidency have been led by women, together with a whole lot of hundreds who rallied in cities around the globe the day after his inauguration for the Women’s March.
For Republicans who opposed Trump in the course of the marketing campaign, the episode has felt like a sickening second of “I told you so,” Mair stated.
“Personally, that’s a pretty demoralizing feeling,” Mair stated. “A lot of people hoped that things would be different once he got into the office, but the guy’s been on this earth for seven decades. You can’t really change his behavior after all that.”
As of Thursday night, Trump’s spouse and daughters had not publicly reacted.
Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the primary woman, referred reporters to feedback that Melania Trump made on the marketing campaign path about her husband needing to defend himself. At an April 2016 rally in Milwaukee, she stated: “When you attack him, he will punch back 10 times harder. No matter who you are, a man or a woman, he treats everyone equal.”
Scottie Nell Hughes was amongst one of many few feminine defenders to seem on nationwide tv in October after The Washington Post unearthed the “Access Hollywood” video, which featured Donald Trump bragging about groping women with out their permission. Hughes stated on Thursday that it is “definitely a struggle” for his supporters to defend him in such instances.
“I personally would never attack a woman and her looks, and I don’t like that at all,” stated Hughes, who is now the spokeswoman for a pro-Trump political motion committee, the Committee to Defend the President. “But America wanted a fighter, and that’s why we elected him, he’s fighting back — not exactly how I would choose to do it, but he’s defending himself.”
Paul Farhi contributed to this report.
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