MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough argued that "Donald Trump is not well" in a Washington Post op-ed, one day after the president lashed out at the TV personalities in a pair of tweets widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans.
Along with expressing their "doubts" about Trump's ability to run the White House, the duo chastised the president for his "unhealthy obsession" with their show, Morning Joe. They also excoriated his "nasty tweets" about them, in which Trump referred to the hosts as "low I.Q. Crazy Mika" and "Psycho Joe," claimed they asked to join him three consecutive nights at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida ("I said no!") and noted that Brzezinski was "bleeding badly from a face-lift."
Brzezinski and Scarborough denied asking to join the president-elect and labeled his claim that he refused to see them "laughable." They recalled that Trump invited them both to dinner on December 30th, but only Scarborough attended.
"After listening to the president-elect talk about his foreign policy plans, Joe was asked by a disappointed Mr. Trump the next day if Mika could also visit Mar-a-Lago that night," they continued. "She reluctantly agreed to go. After we arrived, the president-elect pulled us into his family's living quarters with his wife, Melania, where we had a pleasant conversation. We politely declined his repeated invitations to attend a New Year's Eve party, and we were back in our car within 15 minutes."
The TV personalities pointed to "the president's unhealthy obsession with [their] show" and alleged that "top White House staff members warned that The National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked."
Trump responded to that particular claim Friday morning, tweeting another round of insults in his trademark voice. "Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS," he wrote. "[Scarborough] called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show."
"Yet another lie," Scarborough replied on Twitter. "I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months."
While the hosts acknowledged that Brzezinski's physical appearance is "no one's business" in the op-ed, they also called the "face-lift" insult a lie, saying it's the latest "disturbing" incident in his "continued mistreatment of women."
"From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women’s genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children," they wrote. "We were heartened to hear a number of Republican lawmakers call out Mr. Trump for his offensive words and can only hope that the women who are closest to him will follow their examples. It would be the height of hypocrisy to claim the mantle of women’s empowerment while allowing a family member to continue such abusive conduct."
Trump's tweets faced swift criticism from members of his own party. Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote, "Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America." Speaker Paul Ryan remarked, "Obviously I don't see that as an appropriate comment. What we're trying to do around here is improve the tone, the civility of the debate. And this obviously doesn't help do that."
On Friday's Morning Joe, Brzezinski insisted that she's "fine" and that her concerns were for the country at large. "My family brought me up really tough," she said. "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."