WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump faced a backlash Thursday after he posted tweets that used crude language about the appearance of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski and berated her intelligence.
Several Republicans criticized Trump, including senators engaged in negotiations to reach a compromise on a complex health care bill. Many said Trump’s attack was not helpful and beneath the office of the president.
Trump fired his two-tweet shot during the show hosted by Joe Scarborough, the former Florida congressman, and Brzezinski after she mocked Trump for putting himself on a faked Time magazine cover, and said he is “lying every day and destroying the country.”
In two connected tweets, Trump said, “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, 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.”
MSNBC said in a statement: “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.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump.
“The president has been attacked mercilessly on personal account by members of that program, and I think he’s been very clear that when he gets attacked he’s going to hit back,” she said.
“Look, the American people elected a fighter,” she added. “They knew what they were getting when they voted for Donald Trump, and he won overwhelmingly.”
Republicans joined Democrats and media critics in condemning the tweets.
“Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment. What we are trying to do around here is improve the tone and civility of the debate. And this obviously doesn’t help do that,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
“Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) tweeted.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted: “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.”
The first lady, who is leading an effort against cyberbullying, had no comment, her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said. But Grisham added, “As the first lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder.”
Trump’s tweets Thursday morning follow a string of posts he has made in recent days attacking news organizations.
Scarborough and Brzezinski did attend the New Year’s party at Mar-a-Lago, but they said they were there to ask for an interview with Trump. They did not succeed. Scarborough and Brzezinski announced their engagement in May.