Revenge is always a dish better served cold.
TV hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski delayed the start of their holiday to respond to Donald Trump’s misogynistic facelift tweet, claiming that the President is “vicious to women” because he fears them. First they published a hard-hitting article questioning the President's mental health in one of the US's leading newspapers, and then appeared on their own show to double down their retaliation.
“I’m fine,” Ms Brzezinski said, for once a guest on Morning Joe, the show she co-hosts. “My family brought me up really tough. 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.”
“The president’s tweets, whether they’re personally aimed at me … that doesn’t bother me one bit. It does worry me about the country.”
“It's been fascinating and frightening and really sad for our country,” Ms Brzezinski added. “We’re OK,” said Mr Scarborough. “The country’s not.”
When Mr Trump announced he was running for the White House, former congressman Mr Scarborough and co-host Ms Brzezinski, his fiancée, were considered supportive of his bid for the Republican nomination. Mr Trump appeared frequently on their MSNBC show, Morning Joe, and considered them to be “believers”, if not outright supporters.
But their relationship soured, and took a sharp turn for the worse after Mr Scarborough penned an article in the Washington Post last year expressing concerns about Mr Trump.
This week, Mr Trump sparked widespread outcry when he posted two tweets about the anchors.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore),” he said.
“Then how come low IQ 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 facelift. I said no.”
The comments were widely condemned, both by Mr Trump’s opponents and members of the Republican party. Observers – used to Mr Trump’s unprecedented behaviour since he assumed the presidency – said he had crossed yet another red line.
Mr Scarborough and Ms Brzezinski also responded to Mr Trump, with a joint op-ed article in the Post.
“President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behaviour go far beyond the personal,” they wrote.
“America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, Morning Joe.”
They added: “We have known Mr. Trump for more than a decade and have some fond memories of our relationship together. But that hasn’t stopped us from criticising his abhorrent behaviour or worrying about his fitness.”
The couple’s appearance spread over more than half an hour. At times, Mr Scarborough's comments veered towards the pompous and sanctimonious.
Yet Ms Brzezinski spoke very candidly, admitting to the facelift operation to remove skin beneath her skin, that Mr Trump had mocked. "I'm pretty transparent about what I do and I think it looks awesome."
Mr Scarborough claimed he had been told by senior members of Mr Trump’s team they were worried about his mental health. He said they had also been told things they were not able to say on the air.
Ms Brzezinski added: “He has once again shown the world that he can be played, that he can be tweaked, that he can be goaded. “That is what I’m worried about.”
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