Mika Brzezinski fired back at President Donald Trump on Friday, calling his recent Twitter attack on her "unbelievably alarming" and also claiming that Trump's White House said her "Morning Joe" co-host could get a salacious story about them in the National Enquirer spiked by begging the president's forgiveness.
"It's been fascinating and frightening and really sad for our country," Brzezinski, seated next her fiance and co-host Joe Scarborough, said on their MSNBC show. "I'm very concerned as to what this once again reveals about the president of the United States. It's strange."
Trump mocked the two TV personalities on his personal Twitter account Thursday, calling them "Crazy Mika" and "Psycho Joe." He wrote that Brzezinski was "bleeding badly from a facelift" when he saw the pair at his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump tweeted the insults soon after Brzezinski joked on the show about his fake Time magazine cover.
On Friday, Brzezinski and Scarborough alleged that members of the Trump administration had told Scarborough to call Trump and apologize for their coverage in order to get the plug pulled on a story about them in the National Enquirer.
"I had three people at the very top of the administration calling me," Scarborough said. "The calls kept coming. They said, 'you need to call. Please call. Just pick up the phone and call him.'"
Trump responded to the claim on Twitter Friday, alleging that Scarborough had called the president in an attempt to get the story killed.
"Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show," Trump tweeted.
Scarborough responded on Twitter by saying that tweet was "yet another lie."
"I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months," he wrote. "Why do you keep lying about things that are so easily disproven? What is wrong with you?"
Brzezinski said her children were being harassed by the tabloid, which pinned the story on her ex-husband. Brzezinski said she knew that was a lie.
"My response was screw it. Let them run it,” she said.
Dylan Howard, chief content officer and vice president of American Media Inc., which owns the National Enquirer, said in a statement: "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."
NBC has reached out to the White House for additional comment.
Scarborough and Brzezinski first responded in detail to Trump's attacks in a Friday morning op-ed in The Washington Post titled "Donald Trump Is Not Well."
"We are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show," the pair wrote in the Post. "It is disturbing that the president of the United States keeps up his unrelenting assault on women."
In the piece, the two also denounced Trump's specific claims that they visited him for three nights at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago and that he refused to see them. Trump had requested their presence, they wrote.
They also claimed Trump lied when he wrote Brzezinski was "bleeding badly from a facelift."
On "Morning Joe," Brzezinski explained that however "frightening" the president's attack was, it is not keeping her up at night.
"I'm fine. My family brought me up really tough," she added. "The president's tweets, that doesn't bother me one bit."
Brzezinski continued: "It is unbelievably alarming that this president is so easily played… by a cable news host. What is that saying to our allies, to our enemies?"
In an interview with InStyle, Brzezinski said that "The president’s behavior in the past 24 hours with his tweets about me are a sign that he’s not serious, he’s not stable, and that we need to urge anybody in office, in power, in the administration, in the Cabinet, on Capitol Hill to speak truth to power, and if your instinct tells you that he’s not fit, to act accordingly."
Asked about Trump's wife, Melania, Brzezinski doesn't think she will "put up with it much longer" but that "she will do it for as long as she has to for her son."
Scarborough joined in the criticism, calling Trump "vicious."
"Unfortunately, we learned what we always learned: He for some reason he takes it so much personally with women. He is so much more vicious with women. For some reason, he always goes after Mika. It's always personal with Mika."
The hosts have said they've known Trump for over a decade, but Scarborough added that the former businessman has changed.
"The guy that’s in the White House now is not the guy we knew two years ago," he said.
Willie Geist hosted the MSNBC broadcast, as Brzezinski and Scarborough were scheduled to take time off beginning on Friday. He opened the show by addressing the controversy and offering support for his MSNBC colleague.
"She does not need me or anyone else to defend her," Geist said of Brzezinski before her last-minute appearance. "She's smart. She's strong. She makes people in power feel uncomfortable, and she fears absolutely no one."
Much of Friday's show was dedicated to the tweets, with Geist and various panelists describing the president as insecure, childish and impulsive. They addressed Washington directly numerous times, demanding politicians to stand up against Trump and calling for an apology and retraction from the president. They even debated how the tweets could affect foreign relations and the ongoing health care battle.
Though Trump fired off Thursday's tweets while Brzezinski was on the air, she did not respond at the time beyond tweeting an image of a Cheerios box, in a tweak about the size of the president's hands.
Trump's tweets drew heated responses from politicians on both sides of the aisle saying the president crossed a line. House Speaker Paul Ryan called the messages "not appropriate," while several congressmen added that they were sexist and beneath the dignity of his office.
As critics brought up Trump's other past personal insults directed to prominent women, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president's actions, saying he had the right to fight back.
( Thu Jun 29 13:14:18 PDT 2017 $__output ) WH Spokeswoman Defends Trump’s Tweets About Brzezinski
"I think that he's been very clear that when he gets attacked, he's going to hit back," Sanders said at the daily White House press briefing. "I don't think that it's a surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire."
Another Trump defender, Sean Hannity, tweeted Friday, "Joe and Mika call @POTUS a schmuck, thug, goon, liar, idiot, anti trump Music video, daily hysterical breakdowns, who's unhinged & not well?"
MSNBC spokesperson Lorie Acio responded Thursday by saying, "It's a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job." CNN also issued a statement in solidarity with the rival cable network's hosts.
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