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.

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"It's hard to understand, and not presidential," Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column CNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' 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 GrahamSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Graham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief 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.

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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 CollinsState aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority 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."

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"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 KlobucharSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Lobbying world 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.”