The hosts of “Morning Joe” on Friday morning responded to insults from President Donald Trump the previous day, framing them as genuine causes for national concern about Trump’s emotional and mental well-being.
“I’m fine,” Mika Brzezinski said on air. “My family brought me up really tough. This is absolutely nothing — for me, personally. But I am very concerned as to what this once again reveals about the President of the United States. It’s strange.”
“I was like, this has to be a joke,” Joe Scarborough added. “The President of the United States, as bad as he’s been in the past, he really hasn’t gone over the cliff. And then, unfortunately, we learned what we’ve always learned; and that is that he, for some reason, takes things so much more personally with women. He’s so much more vicious with women.”
They were referring to a series of attacks by Trump Thursday, in which he called Brzezinski “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” an said “she was bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a visit to his Mar-a-Lago resort on New Year’s Eve. He called Scarborough “Psycho Joe.” The pair delayed a vacation to respond to the tweets on-air Friday.
Trump’s comments received broad condemnation from a number of GOP lawmakers. White House surrogates for Trump, however, said he was “fighting fire with fire” following criticism from the show.
The hosts responded to Trump in an op-ed in the Washington Post Friday morning. They were even more candid on-air.
Scarborough, for example, related a story he heard from “a well-known congressman,” who told him that, during a pitch to several lawmakers about the health care bill, the President went on a rant about “Morning Joe.”
“‘I’ve never made a call like this, I’ve been in politics my whole life,’” Scarborough recalled the congressman telling him. “‘He scared me, because he was vicious when he turned from you to Mika. His face was red. He started talking about blood coming out of her ears, out of her eyes.’”
“For some reason, he always goes after Mika, and it’s always personal with Mika.” Scarborough said. “He attacks women because he fears women.”
For her part, Brzezinski said Trump’s behavior had sparked a deep worry about the future of the country, but that she personally could handle the attack.
“My father just passed away,” she said. “My mother had two heart attacks. My daughter just lost a friend. Those are the things I’m really worried about. Those are the things that really deeply impact me, and leave me thinking about at night, and hurting and worrying and thinking about the future.”
“The President’s tweets? Whether they’re personally aimed at me or aimed at me in some way, that doesn’t bother me one bit,” she continued. “It does worry me about the country.”
“The guy that’s in the White House now is not the guy we knew two years ago,” Scarborough added later. “Not even close. The Donald Trump we knew, for the better part of 10 or 12 years, was always in on the joke.”