Trump's attack on MSNBC host sparks uproar

Lawmakers from both parties denounced President Trump's Thursday morning attacks on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski's appearance.

After Trump slammed "Morning Joe" co-host Brzezinski and suggested that she had been "bleeding badly" from a "face-lift," Republican lawmakers rushed to denounce the remarks, saying they were beneath the dignity of the presidency.

"The President’s tweets today don't help our political or national discourse and do not provide a positive role model for our national dialogue,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said in a statement.

"It's hard to understand, and not presidential," Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-Ariz.) said, according to NBC News's Frank Thorp. "I'm just embarrassed — embarrassed isn't the right word — I just regret it."

"Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America," Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-S.C.) wrote on Twitter.

Trump regularly takes to Twitter to attack media outlets. This week, the president has used the social media site to attack major news organizations like The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times.

But the broadside against Brzezinski, particularly the suggestion that she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift" during a visit to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort last year, earned a strong rebuke from the GOP.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) accused Trump of breeding a culture of social and political violence by tweeting such a personal attack.

"Personal attacks & character assassination yield a culture of social & political violence in which people can become radicalized & dangerous," he wrote on Twitter.

The condemnations marked a reversal of fortunes in a week that had seen Trump on the offensive against the media.

After CNN retracted an article claiming that a Senate committee was investigating a Russian bank with ties to Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci, Trump and his supporters declared the move to be proof of their assertions that the mainstream media is conspiring against the president.

Trump capitalized on the episode again on Tuesday after three CNN journalists involved with the retracted story resigned. The network, Trump wrote on Twitter, had been “caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories.” 

Trump's tweets also earned criticism from Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Ryan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (R-Maine), a moderate and one of the key GOP critics of the Senate's ObamaCare repeal legislation.

"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. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote 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. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 29, 2017

The president's tweets also drew outrage from lawmakers and partisans on the other side of the aisle.

As lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee held a markup for a defense appropriations bill on Thursday morning, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) paused to call out Trump for his remarks, which she disparaged as "heinous and vile."

"Before I deliver my statements, and frankly I hesitate to bring this up, but this morning, the president of the United States of America, the person on whom we all rely to sign our Appropriation bills into law, again made heinous and vile comments about the looks and intelligence of a prominent woman to his 33 million Twitter followers," she said.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharWeek ahead: Crunch time for defense bill’s cyber reforms | Equifax under scrutiny Some Dems sizzle, others see their stock fall on road to 2020 Consumers the big winners of Amazon-Whole Foods merger MORE (D-Minn.) slammed Trump for taking the time to tweet the attack against Brzezinski, painting it as a distraction from lawmakers' efforts to reform healthcare. 

"The U.S. economy (health care) is up in the air & the president is focused on this? Each tweet squanders American leadership," Klobuchar wrote on Twitter.

Trump's social media broadside was quickly denounced by MSNBC, who said in a statement Thursday morning that "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.”

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, defended the president's tweets on Thursday morning during an appearance on Fox News. Trump, she said, was simply striking back against what he views as negative and unfair coverage on "Morning Joe." 

“I don’t think that the president has ever been someone who gets attacked and doesn’t push back,” she said. “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.”