The battle between President Donald Trump and the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” took a new turn Friday over whether the president tried to negotiate with them over a negative National Enquirer story.
Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough on Friday said White House aides offered to kill an Enquirer story about their romance if Scarborough would call Trump to apologize for their negative commentary. Scarborough said he did not call.
Trump tweeted a denial of that assertion, saying Scarborough actually called asking him to stop the story. Trump said he turned down Scarborough’s request.
And an Enquirer executive said in a statement he had no knowledge or involvement in any discussions between Trump and Scarborough.
Brzezinski and Scarborough disclosed that new wrinkle on their show and in an op-ed in the Washington Post a day after after Trump fired off two personal and vulgar tweets about them, which prompted widespread condemnation.
On Thursday, after Brzezinski mocked him for a fake Time magazine cover, lies and “ destroying the country,” Trump in tweets called her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika.”
Trump tweeted that she and Scarborough came to Mar-a-Lago three nights around Dec. 31 “and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
The hosts on Friday pushed backed their July 4th vacation and appeared on their show, where they disputed Trump’s tweets and questioned whether he’s fit to run the country.
“I’m fine,” Brzezinski said. “My family brought me up really tough. This is absolutely nothing for me personally. But I’m very concerned about what this once again reveals about the president of the United States.”
Scarborough said, “We’re OK. The country is not.”
Just as the show went off the air on Friday, Trump posted a tweet saying: “Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show.”
Scarborough shot off two of his own tweets.
“Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven’t spoken with you in many months,” he tweeted, then added, “Why do you keep lying about things that are so easily disproven? What is wrong with you?”
Dylan Howard, vice president of American Media, which publishes the Enquirer, denied claims by Scarborough and Brzezinski that reporters threatened them or their children.
Brzezinski and Scarborough, who are divorced, announced their engagement in May. The Enquirer story ran in June.
They also disputed Trump’s version of New Year’s Eve.
Reporters spotted the co-hosts at the New Year’s Eve party at Trump’s Florida club. Scarborough at the time said they were there to set up an interview with Trump.
In their Op-Ed, the co-hosts said he invited them to dinner on Dec. 30, and Scarborough went but Brzezinski didn’t. They said Trump asked both back the next night, and they did come by, but left within 15 minutes after a “pleasant conversation.”
In the Op-Ed they called Trump’s claim she had a face-lift “a lie,” but acknowledged, “She did have a little skin under her chin tweaked,” at her mother’s suggestion.
With William Murphy and Dan Janison