UPDATED with Trump & Scarborough tweets: Joe Scarborough has responded to Donald Trump’s response. “Yet another lie,” MSNBC’s Morning Joe host tweeted after the president disputed Scarborough’s story about the National Enquirer this morning. A minute later, Scarborough tweeted, “Why do you keep lying about things that are so easily disproven?” See all the tweets below.
Trump called Morning Joe “fake news” — or, rather, “FAKE NEWS!” — in a tweet responding to Scarborough’s comments on today’s Morning Joe that the president wanted an apology in exchange for killing a National Enquirer story about Scarborough and Brzezinski. Trump says it was Scarborough who called him asking that the Enquirer story be stopped. “I said no!” Trump tweeted.
As often is the case with the president’s tweets, he might have said more than he intended: Trump seems to acknowledge that he has the power to spike a story in the National Enquirer — and refused to use that power.
The Enquirer posted a statement on its website saying the paper has “no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.”
The statement, by Dylan Howard, Chief Content Officer, VP for Enquirer owner American Media, reads in full:
“At the beginning of June, we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute. At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story. We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.”
Here are the tweets:
PREVIOUSLY: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today that yesterday’s “facelift” tweet from Donald Trump wasn’t the first time the president acted out his “obsession” with Brzezinski and the show: Scarborough revealed that the president once attempted to wrangle an apology from the co-hosts by threatening a damaging National Enquirer story involving Brzezinski’s teenage daughters and ex-husband. (Watch a clip below).
“They were calling my children, pinning a story on my ex-husband, who would never do that,” Brzezinski said on today’s Morning Joe on MSNBC. Scarborough said that “three people at the very top of the administration were calling me,” saying that Trump would have the story spiked if Brzezinski and Scarborough would apologize for what the president saw as negative Trump coverage on Morning Joe.
The Enquirer, Scarborough said, eventually wrote a story about Scarborough buying three six-packs of beer a week – a scenario Scarborough laughed off: “I’ve never bought a beer, you can check it out, I’ll be Gary Hart here. I’ve never bought a beer in my life.”
The tale came during the second hour of today’s Morning Joe, with Brzezinski and Scarborough joining the already in progress panel of Willie Geist, Donny Deutsch, Harold Ford and Katty Kay. Brzezinski and Scarborough were supposed to be on vacation, but agreed to join the 7 am panel to discuss yesterday’s Trump twitterstorm, in which the president wrote that he saw Brzezinski around New Years Eve bleeding from a facelift.
(See the tweets below).
On the show, Scarborough noted that, although he is typically much more outspoken in his criticism of Trump than Brzezinski is, but that the president has “a disturbing obsession with Mika.” Scarborough recounted a second-hand story in which a congressman told him that the president, while addressing about 20 members of Congress ostensibly about health care, went off on a rant about Brzezinski, complete with “blood coming out of her ears, out of her eyes.”
The congressman allegedly told Scarborough, “I was scared.”
As for Brzezinski, she started the show’s segment by saying she is “fine.”
“Big picture,” said Brzezinski. “My father just passed away, my mother had two hearts 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….the president’s tweets? That doesn’t both me one bit, [but] it does worry me about the country.”
“He appears to have a fragile, impetuous, childish ego,” Brzezinski said, adding, “especially with women.” She noted that the tweets followed her jokes about the president’s fake Time magazine covers. “It is unbelievably alarming that this president is so easily played. He’s so easily played by a cable news host. What is that saying to our allies? What is that saying to our enemies? That this president is so easily played?”
Brzezinski and Scarborough also said Trump’s tweets were loaded with lies. According to Scarborough, the president invited the couple to Mar-a-Lago during the Christmas-New Years holiday, and that when Scarborough arrived alone one evening, the president insisted he return later with Brzezinski. “The president kept calling me,” Scarborough said, “saying, Where’s Mika? Where’s Mika?”
The couple returned to Mar-A-Lago the next night – not dressed for the fancy party, intending to arrange an interview and speak to Melania Trump. They stayed about 20 minutes, the couple said.
As for the facelift, “I had my chin tweaked,” Brzezinski said, adding that she hadn’t tried to hide the procedure. “I called all my friends, I’m pretty transparent. And I think it looks awesome.”
“He takes something small and tries to weaponize it,” Scarborough said.
Earlier in today’s show, before Brzezinski and Scarborough arrived, Geist and a panel of the show’s contributors formed a sort of inverse of Trump’s self-organized praise-and-worship cabinet meeting of a few weeks ago, with the Joe cohorts criticizing both Trump and his chief defender Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
None were more vociferous than Morning Joe regular Donny Deutsch. In a long, angry rant, Deutsch went low (his word). Here he is, in full:
“First of all, he picked the wrong schoolyard to come into, I have to tell you. I’m not an employee of NBC so I’m going to go thug here. Mika’s a good friend of ours, she’s a good woman, a great mom, and he’s a pig. He’s a vulgar pig. Michelle Obama says we go high? I’m going to go low, you guys can go high.
“He’s physically disgusting to look at, that’s what I find ironic about the way he always goes after other people’s physical attributes. Beyond the fact that he’s obviously not well, the obvious vulgarity, the obvious stupidity, he’s not mentally ok and we have to start looking at that.
“And he’s disgusting to look at. I know everyone’s going to say ‘Donny!…’ [editors note: which they do, with co-host Geist grumbling about going low) but enough is enough with this disgusting vulgar man to talk about a woman that way.”
Addressing Trump directly, Deutsch said, “And the irony of it that you physically look like you do, beyond the stupidity, you’re a pig, you’re a bully and you are doing disgusting things to this country.”
Interjected Geist, “Doesn’t it lower the discussion?”
“Yes,” said Deutsch, “it absolutely does but maybe it’s time we all stop tippy-toeing. I’m taking the low ground, but you know what? He goes after a woman that way, he goes after a friend that way, he’s a vulgar pig, he’s vulgar to look at, he’s disgusting the way he behaves himself as the president. I’m sorry. I probably won’t be on the show again.”
Later, Deutsch, directly addressing Trump, said, “I’ll meet you in the schoolyard, brother.”
“No, we want to take it out of the schoolyard,” Scarborough said.