Politics and civics

Trump attacks two MSNBC journalists on Twitter

President Trump used Twitter to attack two MSNB journalists Thursday. GOP and Democratic leadership criticized the behavior.

President Trump attacked two journalists Thursday morning using Twitter as his bully pit: MSNBC morning co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

This is not the first time that Trump has attacked journalists or women.

In 2015, speaking about former Fox News Host Megyn Kelly:

You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.

Also in 2015, Trump attacked then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:

Donald Trump used vulgar language as he attacked Hillary Clinton during a rally on Monday night, saying her use of the restroom at the last Democratic debate was “too disgusting” to talk about and that in 2008 she got “schlonged” by Barack Obama when he defeated her in the Democratic primary.


“She was favored to win, and she got schlonged,” Trump said, turning a vulgar noun for a large penis into a verb.

He also attacked GOP candidate Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?””

In August and September 2016, he unleashed four tweets attacking Brzezinski:


And then there was the 2016 “Access Hollywood” tape, where Trump can be heard bragging about sexually assaulting women.

Trump could give Ronald Reagan lessons on teflon.

Or he could take lessons from President Bush (43). When Jimmy Kimmel asked the former president how he felt about Will Ferrell’s impersonations, he responded:

I loved it. That’s part of the gig. You’re going to get made fun of. That’s freedom of speech.


As is often the case, Trump’s tweets don’t match facts. According to contemporary accounts, Trump, Scarborough and Brzezinski mingled with guests and had a private chat.

Politico has more:

In a Vanity Fair report from May on the co-hosts’ recent engagement, the couple acknowledged meeting with the president more than a week after his inauguration, where Trump reportedly suggested they have their wedding at Mar-a-Lago or the White House. According to Scarborough, Trump even suggested he could be the one to marry them.


In an interview on FOX news, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s tweets:

This is a President who fights fire with fire, and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media, and the liberal elites within the media, or Hollywood, or anywhere else.

Through her spokesperson, First Lady Melania also defended her husband, despite her public stance opposing cyberbullying:

“As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” the first lady’s communications director Stephanie Grisham told CNN.

Dan Scavino Jr., who is in charge of White House social media and who used to be Trump’s golf caddy, on Twitter:

Also true to form, FOX news commentator Sean Hannity supported the president on Twitter:

Maybe liberal Joe should stop calling the @POTUS a schmuck, a liar, a thug and mentally unhinged. Were they kissing @POTUS ass at xmas? Yes.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) defended Trump: “The media is salting him every day. I guess he’s fighting back.”

Finally, RedState reminds us that the White House has classified Trump’s tweets as official statements.

Pushback from GOP leadership

  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, on Twitter: “Inappropriate. Undignified. Unpresidential.”
  • Sen. Susan Collins (ME), on Twitter: “This has to stop – we all have a job – 3 branches of gov’t and media. We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.”
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC), on Twitter: “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.”
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT), on Twitter: “”It’s incumbent on all of us, then — from the President to Congress on down — to be responsible for our speech.””
  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS), on Twitter: “This is not okay. As a female in politics I am often criticized for my looks. We should be working to empower women.”
  • Sen. James Lankford (OK), on Twitter: “The President’s tweets today don’t help our political or national discourse and it does not provide a positive role model for our national dialogue.”
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK), on Twitter: “@POTUS, do you want to be remembered for your tweets or your accomplishments?” and “Stop it! The Presidential platform should be used for more than bringing people down.”
  • Rep. Tom Reed (NY),  “Maybe the intent is to distract from the health care debate”
  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI) “Obviously I don’t see that as an appropriate comment.” `
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (NE) on Twitter: “Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office”

Sharper criticism from Democrats

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA): Dianne Feinstein tells us Trump’s attacks against @morningmika are “sexist,” and beneath dignity of the presidency
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), on Twitter: “I want my GOP colleagues to explain to my 3 granddaughters why they think these viciously sexist comments are acceptable from our President.”
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX): “I would argue that our responsibility is not to him, but to the American people,” she said. “And he should resign.” 
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA): “The tweets from our President, they set a low standard for public officials in terms of their demeanor. It’s really sad, though.”
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (HI), on Twitter: “If anyone on my staff did this they would be fired instantly.”
  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) called Trump’s remarks “absolutely disgusting.”

Commentary from journalists


David Corn at Mother Jones:
Hey GOP, Trump’s Misogyny and Obsession With Revenge Are Nothing New

Trump was not acting in an exceptional manner; he was combining two of the driving forces of his personality, both of which were well documented before he was elected: misogyny and revenge.


In a 2007 speech, he explained his first rule of business:

“It’s called “Get Even.” Get even. This isn’t your typical business speech. Get even. What this is a real business speech. You know in all fairness to Wharton, I love ’em, but they teach you some stuff that’s a lot of bullshit. When you’re in business, you get even with people that screw you. And you screw them 15 times harder. And the reason is, the reason is, the reason is, not only, not only, because of the person that you’re after, but other people watch what’s happening. Other people see you or see you or see and they see how you react.”

Arwa Mahdawi at The Guardian:
Trump loves attacking women’s looks. And America rewards him for it

It’s official. America is stuck in an unrelentingly gruesome Groundhog Day. In the morning, Trump tweets something unhinged and/or misogynistic. Then a slew of commentators express their shock, even though Trump became president on a platform of unhinged misogyny. In the midst of all this, a member of the president’s band of female apologists (Melania, Ivanka, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Kellyanne Conway) is summoned to jump to Trump’s defense. 

Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, on Twitter:

Today ALL comms coming out of WH shd be focused on #KatesLaw and #NoSanctuaryforCriminalsAct — not cable TV hosts.

Chris Cillizza at CNN:
Donald Trump’s bullying of Mika Brzezinski crosses a big line

Condemning Trump for this should not be a political decision. It should be a moral one. We don’t want to live in a society where a powerful man (or any man!) can use his social media following to intimidate or bully a woman…  And is the sort of thing we need to stand up against because we don’t want our kids growing up in a world in which that sort of thing becomes even marginally acceptable behavior.

Michelle Goldberg at Slate:
Trump No Longer Seems Able to Hide His Raw Misogyny. Good.

I’m not sure that even well-intentioned men understand how relentlessly degrading this presidency is for many women. Having a man who does not recognize the humanity of more than half the population in a position of such power is a daily insult; it never really goes away.

Fox News anchor Julie Banderas:

That’s just not how you run a country or you parent a 4-year-old. I mean I have to be honest, you know, if you see this negative commentary on a show, change the channel. Ignore it. I mean that’s what I tell my kids: When somebody’s mean to you, don’t fight back. Just walk away.

People used to call President Obama stupid. People used to call him a Muslim. People used to call him underqualified, a sellout to America, a hater of Israel. I mean they called him every name in the book, but you didn’t see him lash out.

The NY Times summarizes the response on FOX:

“Is — is that necessary?” asked the Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer, referring to the graphic nature of Mr. Trump’s comments, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, argued that Mr. Trump’s harsh words were justified. Brit Hume, the veteran Fox News analyst, called it “absurd” that a president could feel bullied by hosts of a cable news show.

“I love sick burns on Twitter, but I’m not president of the United States,” the Republican Fox News host Kennedy said during an on-air discussion in which former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Ms. Sanders’s father, allowed that the president’s words might have been ill-considered.

Gail Collins at the NY Times:
I’ve Overestimated Donald Trump

I have to confess I’ve overestimated Donald Trump.

Back in the day, he sent me a copy of a column he objected to, with some notes suggesting I was a “dog and a liar” with “the face of a pig.”

I’ve had many opportunities to make use of that story since Trump became a presidential candidate, so it’s all fine for me. However, I have to admit that it did not occur to me he’d keep doing that kind of stuff as president of the United States.


Every time one of these tweeting disasters occurs, it reminds us that the United States president has no more discernible self-control than a 10-year-old bully who works out his failure to pass third grade by tormenting the little kids on the playground.



Most Americans, including Republicans, think Trump tweets too much

From Morning Consult, 29 June 2017

In a survey earlier this month, 69 percent of registered voters said Trump tweets too much, up 13 points from a December survey. The share of voters disapproving of the volume of Trump’s tweets included 53 percent of Republicans (an increase of 11 points), 70 percent of independents (an increase of 22 points) and 82 percent of Democrats, up 7 points from December.

Dateline 29 June 2017

More Trump on Media at Tumblr

Header image: Flickr creative commons license. Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland by Gage Skidmore.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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