Bi­par­ti­san anger stoked by Trump tweets at TV hosts

San­ders: Pres­i­dent fights back at his crit­ics

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY SALLY PER­SONS

The White House called Pres­i­dent Trump a “fighter” on Thurs­day, de­fend­ing his lat­est Twit­ter out­burst against two MSNBC an­chors, in­clud­ing Mika Brzezin­ski, who he said he re­fused to let into his New Year’s Eve party be­cause she “was bleed­ing badly from a face-lift.”

Crit­ics from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum said the pres­i­dent had again stepped over the lines of deco­rum, had found new ways to de­grade his of­fice and was ru­in­ing his chances to pur­sue his pol­icy agenda.

In a se­ries of tweets, Mr. Trump said he no longer watched the “Morn­ing Joe” pro­gram but was an­gered by hosts Joe Scar­bor­ough and Ms. Brzezin­ski none­the­less.

“I heard poorly rated @Morn­ing_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch any­more). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mike, 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!” he wrote over two tweets.

White House deputy press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said the MSNBC an­chors started it by spurring the pres­i­dent’s wrath.

“I think he’s been very clear that when he gets at­tacked, he is go­ing to hit back,” Mrs. San­ders told re­porters at the White House brief­ing Thurs­day. “I think the Amer­i­can peo­ple elected some­body who’s tough, who’s smart and who’s a fighter — and that’s Don­ald Trump.”

It was un­clear what the lat­est provo­ca­tion was, though Mrs. San­ders said the pres­i­dent was irked by a con­tin­u­ing stream of ques­tions from the two television show hosts about his men­tal health. The pair have sug­gested a psy­chi­a­trist come on air to an­a­lyze Mr. Trump’s be­hav­ior.

“Peo­ple on the in­side say he keeps get­ting worse — and men­tally, keeps get­ting worse,” Mr. Scar­bor­ough said on his pro­gram in May. “This is, un­for­tu­nately, not a learn­ing curve. This is a man in de­cline.”

They also have called him a dic­ta­tor, com­par­ing him to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

Mrs. San­ders sug­gested they de­served the pres­i­dent’s wrath.

“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,” she said.

Mr. Trump’s tweets come just weeks af­ter Wash­ing­ton was stunned by a Bernard San­ders sup­porter shoot­ing up a House Repub­li­can baseball prac­tice — an at­tack that sparked calls for a more civil con­ver­sa­tion.

Sen. James Lank­ford, Oklahoma Repub­li­can, sug­gested Mr. Trump was vi­o­lat­ing such calls.

“The pres­i­dent’s tweets to­day don’t help our po­lit­i­cal or na­tional dis­course and do not pro­vide a pos­i­tive role model for our na­tional di­a­logue,” he said.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan also crit­i­cized the pres­i­dent’s tweet at a brief­ing on Capi­tol Hill. “I don’t see that as an ap­pro­pri­ate com­ment,” Mr. Ryan said.

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

On the Demo­cratic side, House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi said Mr. Trump’s tweets were “bla­tantly sex­ist.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, rank­ing mem­ber of the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, tweeted that Mr. Trump should spend more time do­ing his job in­stead of at­tack­ing jour­nal­ists.

“Wish @re­alDon­aldTrump spent as much time do­ing his job as he does bul­ly­ing fe­male TV hosts. Un­pres­i­den­tial, of­fen­sive and child­ish,” Mr. Schiff tweeted.

Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­woman Ronna Rom­ney McDaniel, how­ever, said that the re­marks made by the MSNBC hosts jus­ti­fied Mr. Trump’s ac­tions.

“To­day, the pres­i­dent acted like a hu­man and he pushed back,” Ms. McDaniel said on Fox News. “Let’s look at ‘Morn­ing Joe’ and what they’ve said about the pres­i­dent since Jan­uary. They’ve said he has de­men­tia, they said he’s stupid, they’ve called him a goon, they’ve called him a thug, they said he’s men­tally ill, they’ve said he’s an em­bar­rass­ment.”

First lady Me­la­nia Trump agreed that when her hus­band is at­tacked, he will at­tack back.

“As the First Lady has stated pub­licly in the past, when her hus­band gets at­tacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Stephanie Gr­isham, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for Mrs. Trump, who has made cy­ber­bul­ly­ing the is­sue she’d like to fo­cus on dur­ing her time in po­lit­i­cal life.

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