TV SHOW HOST
calls Trump tweets ‘sad for country.’
NEW YORK — Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski said Friday that President Donald Trump lied about their December encounter in a tweet and that his “unhealthy obsession” with their program doesn’t serve his mental health or the country well.
The two MSNBC personalities postponed a vacation in order to respond to Trump’s Thursday tweet, which drew broad condemnation because he called Brzezinski “crazy” and said she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw them at his Florida estate late last year.
“It’s been fascinating and frightening and really sad for our country,” Brzezinski said on their program about the tweets.
“We’re OK,” said Scarborough, her co-host and fiance. “The country’s not.”
Trump tweeted Friday that he watched Morning Joe for the first time in a long time. “Bad show,” he wrote.
The hosts, who also co-bylined a column that was posted on The Washington Post’s website Friday, said they had known Trump for more than a decade and have “fond memories” of their relationship, but that he’s changed in the past two years. They were at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida shortly before the New Year in December to encourage Trump to give them an interview.
Brzezinski said she’s alarmed at how the president deals with women who disagree with him. She said she believes that her teasing about a Post story on fake Time magazine covers that feature Trump’s face and hang at his golf facilities is what precipitated the latest Twitter attack.
“It is unbelievably alarming that this president is so easily played, he is easily played by a cable news host,” she said. “What does that say to our allies? What does that say to our enemies?”
They said Trump was lying about Brzezinski having a face-lift, although “she did have a little skin under her chin tweaked.”
Scarborough said that the National Enquirer had been working on a story about him and Brzezinski and that he was told by White House aides that if he called Trump and apologized for his show’s coverage, the story would go away. He said he refused, and the story was published.
Trump, in his Friday tweet, directly contradicted that claim. “He called me to stop a National Enquirer article,” Trump wrote. “I said no!”
A recent New Yorker magazine article detailed a close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of the Enquirer’s parent company, and how the supermarket tabloid has lauded Trump and printed damaging articles about his political opponents.
Morning Joe and Trump have had a tortured relationship. The hosts were criticized by some for being too close to Trump during the campaign and giving his candidacy an early boost, but have turned sharply against him. Brzezinski in recent weeks has wondered whether Trump is mentally ill and said the country under his presidency “does feel like a developing dictatorship.”
The hosts said they’ve noticed a change in Trump’s behavior over the past few years that left them neither shocked nor insulted by the Thursday tweet.
“The guy who is in the White House now is not the guy we know,” Scarborough said.
In television interviews Friday, Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Trump, sent conflicting messages about whether Trump was justified in his Thursday tweet. She said he had the right to fight back when attacked by critics. But when pressed on ABC’s Good Morning America, she said: “I didn’t say I endorsed his attacks; I never said that. Bottom line, I endorse his ability to connect on social media with Americans.”
Information for this article was contributed by Kenneth Thomas of The Associated Press.