WASHINGTON — Lawmakers quickly hit back at the tweets President Trump issued this morning mocking MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski’s intelligence and appearance, with both sides of the aisle condemning the language as sexist and below the president of the United States.
The White House, though, defended the tweets as appropriate for a commander in chief who fights.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. 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 face-lift. I said no!” Trump tweeted.
“This is not okay,” responded Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), citing his tweet. “As a female in politics I am often criticized for my looks. We should be working to empower women.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted, “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.”
“I had hoped that kind of language would be left behind on the campaign trail,” she later told CNN. “…Stop the personal attacks.”
Said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.”
“Stop it! The Presidential platform should be used for more than bringing people down,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) tweeted, later pinning to the top of her Twitter feed, “@POTUS, do you want to be remembered for your tweets or your accomplishments?”
Tweeted Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), “Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office.”
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she didn’t think Trump’s tweets went too far because “the president has been attacked mercilessly on personal accounts by members on that program, and I think he’s been very clear that when gets attacked, he’s going to hit back.”
“I think the American people elected somebody who’s tough, who’s smart and who’s a fighter, and that’s Donald Trump. And I don’t think that it’s a surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire,” she added.
Asked if it was the proper tone to take after civility and unity in Washington were encouraged after the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice, Sanders replied, “The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary. And he was simply pushing back and defending himself.”
Asked if Trump is acting as a role model and if she is “going to tell your kids this behavior is OK,” Sanders responded that she tells her children to only look to God as “one perfect role model.”
“None of us are perfect, and certainly there’s only one that is, and that’s where I would point that direction,” she added.
At a press conference today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked about the tweets.
“Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” Ryan said. “I think — look, what we’re trying to do around here is improve the tone and the civility of the debate. And this obviously doesn’t help do that.”
Hour Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), at her own news conference, said Trump’s Twitter statement “really saddens me because it is so beneath the dignity of the president of the Unites States to engage in such behavior.”
“I just don’t know why the Republicans, they can tolerate almost anything — a candidate beating up a reporter and then cheering him on as he arrives in Congress, the tweets of the president of the United States,” Pelosi said. “They set a low standard for public officials in terms of their demeanor. It’s really sad, though — the president of the United States.”