‘Mika and her face were perfectly intact’: TV hosts hit back
THE hosts of US breakfast show Morning Joe claimed on Friday that top White House staffers had warned that the National Enquirer planned to run a negative piece about them unless they begged US President Donald Trump to get the story spiked.
"We ignored their desperate pleas," the couple wrote in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post.
On their show on Friday, Brzezinski said: "They were calling children, they were calling my close friends, they were pinning the story on my ex-husband."
Scarborough said Mr Trump is friends with David Pecker, who owns the Enquirer'sparent company.
"Donald Trump called me during the campaign and bragged about his friend who runs the National Enquirer," he said. "There were all these stories that were planted in the National Enquirer for people who Donald Trump wanted to attack."
Mr Trump took to Twitter to dispute the claim and say that Scarborough called him to have the article killed but he refused.
Scarborough hit back in real time, saying he had texts and phone records which would prove the president lied.
Earlier, the hosts said Mr Trump needed to end his "unhealthy obsession" with their show - writing in a op-ed that they are convinced he's not "mentally equipped" to watch it.
"For those lucky enough to miss Thursday's West Wing temper tantrum, the president continued a year-long habit of lashing out at Morning Joe while claiming to never watch it," Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough wrote for The Washington Post.It comes as Brzezinski also claimed in an interview with InStyle that Melania Trump wanted out of her marriage.
"I know Melania. I haven't talked to her in months, but if my gut is right, I don't think she's going to put up with it much longer," Brzezinski said. "I know nothing. That's just my instinct and I go with my gut and my gut's always right.
She continued on, saying that the first lady was only doing "the worst job in the country" for the sake of her young son, Barron.
"I'm just telling you, Melania's got the worst job in the country and I don't think she wants do it a lot longer. I think she will do it for as long as she has to for her son, and that's it," Brzezinski said.
Mr Trump attacked the engaged couple on Thursday morning on Twitter, shortly after their show ended.
"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 facelift. I said no!" he wrote in a pair of crude tweets that sparked a widespread, bipartisan backlash.
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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
They said that if Brzezinski had undergone the cosmetic procedure, "it would be evident to anyone watching Morning Joe on their high-definition TV."
They added that she "did have a little skin under her chin tweaked, but this was hardly a state secret."
Photos have also surfaced showing Mr Trump either lied or did not remember meeting the couple on New Year's Eve.
The pair went on to assail Mr Trump's "unrelenting assault on women."
"From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women's genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children," they wrote.
The couple noted that they have known the president for more than a decade and have "some fond memories" of their relationship.
"But that hasn't stopped us from criticising his abhorrent behaviour or worrying about his fitness," they said.
"The Donald Trump we knew before the campaign was a flawed character but one who still seemed capable of keeping his worst instincts in check."
KATHY GRIFFIN REEMERGES AFTER TRUMP JOKE BACKLASH
Comedian Kathy Griffin has also joined the chorus of criticism directed at Mr Trump in her first Trump-related comments since a joke in which she posted a picture of herself holding a fake decapitated head that looked like Mr Trump.
"POTUS likes to punch down. Whether it's anchors, US Attorneys, or stand-up comics. Meanwhile, millions are about to lose health insurance," she wrote.The resulting backlash saw Griffin's upcoming tour gigs cancelled while CNN announced it had fired Griffin from her annual gig co-hosting its New Year's Eve program with network anchor Anderson Cooper.
Griffin said that Mr Trump was a "bully" and that she would not put up with it.
ADVISERS TRY TO DEFEND TRUMP
A day after Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump had the right to "fight fire with fire", Kellyanne Conway, the president's counsellor, was sent outon the US morning programs to carry on the defence.
"I endorse the president's right to fight back when he is being mercilessly attacked," she told US ABC News.
Clarifying her remarks, Conway said, "I didn't say I endorsed his attacks; I never said that.
"Bottom line: I endorse his ability to connect on social media with Americans," she said.
Huckabee Sanders had attacked the media a day earlier for focusing on his tweets instead of policy.
"I think that the president is pushing back against people who attack him day after day after day. Where's the outrage on that?" she said. "You guys are constantly coming and asking if this OK? If he does it one time. This is day after day after day and it's not just the president. The only person that I see a war on is this president and everybody who works for him."
However, many Republicans have lined up to criticise Mr Trump and his tweets.
'Inappropriate. Undignified. Unpresidential," Jeb Bush wrote.
Paul Ryan said they were 'not appropriate' and Senator Lindsay Graham urged Trump to stop demeaning his office.
TRUMP SLAMS 'HORRIBLE HUMAN BEINGS' AT CNN
It comes as Mr Trump took aim at CNN during his $35,000-a-plate fundraiser earlier this week - crowing after the "fake news" network took a hit for a retracted story and riffing about whether he should sue.
"Boy, did CNN get killed over the last few days," Mr Trump said, referring to a story that tied his ally Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund, triggering the resignations of three journalists at the outlet.
"It's a shame what they've done to the name CNN, that I can tell you," he continued during a private Republican National Committee fundraiser at his Washington hotel on Wednesday.
"But as far as I'm concerned, I love it. If anybody's a lawyer in the house and thinks I have a good lawsuit - I feel like we do. Wouldn't that be fun?" he said gleefully as he lambasted one of his favourite media foils.
Audio from the event published by The Intercept captured loud applause as the president said he was prevailing in his campaign against the "horrible human beings" at CNN.
Mr Trump also targeted CNN commentator Van Jones, who Mr Trump said was recently captured on secretly recorded audio calling the story of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia a "nothing burger."
"Van Jones - you see this man?" Trump said.
"These are really dishonest people. Should I sue them? I mean, they're phonies. Jeff Zucker, I hear he's going to resign at some point pretty soon," he said, referring to the network's president.
During the freewheeling, 45-minute address without a teleprompter, Mr Trump also praised his own record, boasting of decreased border crossings by immigrants and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
"I don't think anybody as president has done as much in the first five months," he claimed.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and is republished here with permission