Defiant Trump resumes attacks on ‘Morning Joe’ hosts, despite bipartisan criticism

A defiant President Donald Trump resumed his attacks on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Saturday morning, calling Scarborough “crazy” and Brzezinski “dumb as a rock,” despite days of bipartisan criticism over his initial attacks on the pair earlier this week.

“Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad!” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers rebuked Trump’s attacks on the hosts Thursday after he slammed Brzezinski’s intellect, questioned her sanity and mocked her appearance.

“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 wrote in a series of tweets.

On Friday, Scarborough and Brzezinski responded to Trump’s attacks with an opinion piece in The Washington Post titled “Donald Trump is not well.

“America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president,” they wrote. “We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, ‘Morning Joe.'”

During their Friday “Morning Joe” broadcast, Scarborough and Brzezinski also accused Trump and his White House of using the possibility of a hit piece in the National Enquirer to threaten them and change their news coverage, to which Trump responded on Twitter by calling that accusation “FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show.”

But Scarborough said he has proof of White House threats earlier this year; he replied to Trump by tweeting, “Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records.”

A White House official suggested to CNN that nothing untoward occurred, saying Scarborough called Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, about the Enquirer story before it was published. The official said Kushner told Scarborough to call the President. The official denied there was ever any offer from Kushner of a quid pro quo — in other words, softer coverage in exchange for spiking the Enquirer story.

The White House did not return a request for comment on Trump’s latest tweet on Saturday.Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s initial attack at Thursday’s White House press briefing, saying, “Look, the American people elected a fighter. They didn’t elect somebody to sit back and do nothing.” She added that Trump “fights fire with fire.”

Sanders also said on Fox News that Trump was responding to liberal bullying when he tweeted about the MSNBC host.

“I don’t think that the President’s ever been someone who gets attacked and doesn’t push back,” she told the network Thursday. “There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks not just to him but people around him.”

First lady Melania Trump also stood by her husband’s remarks about the hosts.
“As the first lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” the first lady’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement to CNN on Thursday.

When asked about Trump’s initial tweets during a House Republican news conference Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan responded, “Obviously I don’t see that as an appropriate comment.

He added: “What we’re trying to do around here is improve the tone, the civility of the debate. And this obviously doesn’t help do that.”

[CNN]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump threatens to sue CNN, according to GOP fundraiser audio

President Trump pummeled CNN during his first re-election fundraiser Wednesday night, according to audio released Friday by The Intercept.

“Boy, did CNN get killed over the last few days,” Mr. Trump said in the audio that lasted for about 40 minutes.

The fundraiser speech took place at at his hotel in Washington, D.C.; media were excluded and attendees were charged $35,000 each.

Mr. Trump went on to bash CNN commentator Van Jones and the president of CNN, Jeff Zucker, and asked the audience if he should sue people who work there.

“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. I mean these are horrible human beings,” Mr. Trump could be heard saying.

The president said “it’s a shame” what they’ve done to CNN’s brand.

“But as far as I’m concerned, I love it,” he said. “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?”

A Republican source told CBS News that the fundraiser was expected to pull in roughly $10 million for the GOP.

[CBS News]

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The Intercept

 

Trump Accidentally Confesses to Blackmail Scheme Against Morning Joe Hosts

President Donald Trump on Friday fired back at the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program.

Specifically, the president responded to allegations that the White House asked co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski to apologize personally to Trump for their negative coverage of him in exchange for him telling the National Enquirer to back off of a negative story planned about the couple.

“Watched low rated Morning Joe for first time in long time,” Trump said. “FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show.”

Joe Scarborough quickly shot back at Trump on Twitter — and claimed that he had a paper trail to back up his version of events.

“I have texts from your top aides and phone records,” he wrote. “Also, those records show I haven’t spoken with you in many months. Why do you keep lying about things that are so easily disproven? What is wrong with you?”

In a Washington Post editorial published Friday, Scarborough and Brzezinski revealed that the White House earlier this year contacted them about a purportedly scandalous story that would soon be published in the National Enquirer, whose boss David Pecker is a longtime Trump ally.

“This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked,” they revealed. “We ignored their desperate pleas.”

[Raw Story]

Trump Tweets Shocking Assault on Brzezinski, Scarborough

On Thursday morning, while MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” was on the air, Trump posted a pair of hateful tweets about co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

MSNBC responded with this statement: “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.”

The president’s deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, defended the tweets by saying Trump was responding to the “outrageous attacks that take place” on “Morning Joe” and other shows.

Trump refuses to be “bullied,” Sanders said on Fox News. “This is a president who fights fire with fire.”

Trump’s tweets in the 8 a.m. hour on Thursday said that “Morning Joe” is “poorly rated” (it’s not) and that the hosts “speak badly of me” (that’s true). He called both hosts disparaging names.

Trump claimed that Scarborough and Brzezinski courted him for an interview at Mar-a-Lago around the New Year’s Eve holiday.

“She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” the president wrote.

He actually said yes, according to accounts of their meeting. Trump, Scarborough and Brzezinski mingled with guests and had a private chat.

For the record, photos from Mar-a-Lago do not show any blood or bandages on Brzezinski’s face.

Stunned commenters on social media noted that Trump targeted both hosts with his barbed tweets, but only opined on the physical appearance of the woman involved.

Democratic commentator Maria Cardona, speaking on CNN, said it was part of a pattern of misogynistic behavior by Trump.

“We should not normalize this,” she said, calling it “unacceptable and unpresidential.”

Lawmakers immediately condemned the president’s tweets, as well.

“Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, tweeted.

But First Lady Melania Trump spoke up in defense of her husband.

“As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” her communications director Stephanie Grisham said in response to reporters’ questions.

Melania Trump has previously said that as First Lady she wants to focus on the problem of cyberbullying.

Critics say Trump uses his Twitter account as a powerful megaphone to bully people.

Observers also expressed a lot of skepticism about Trump’s Thursday morning claim that he doesn’t watch “Morning Joe” anymore.

The president is known to watch all the major morning shows, including the programs on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC’. He sometimes calls up pro-Trump guests to thank them for their remarks on the shows.

Trump had a friendly, jovial relationship with “Morning Joe” during the presidential campaign, but it turned sour over time.

At one point he called Brzezinski “very insecure” and threatened to expose her off-screen relationship with Scarborough.

Brzezinski and Scarborough were dating at the time, and they are now engaged.

Thursday’s anti-media tweets were astonishing — and part of a pattern.

On Tuesday his main target was CNN. Trump reveled in the fact that three CNN journalists resigned on Monday after their Russia-related story was retracted.

On Wednesday Trump went after two of the nation’s biggest newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post.

He mangled the facts several times, but his overall message came through loud and clear: Do not trust the people who are trying to hold my administration accountable.

Brzezinski responded to Trump Thursday morning with a tweet of her own, mocking him with a reference to “little hands,” a reference to a disparaging idea about him that has circulated for years.

Mark Kornblau, the head of PR for NBC News and MSNBC, also weighed in on Twitter, saying, “Never imagined a day when I would think to myself, ‘it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States.'”

[CNN]

 

Trump Rips ‘AmazonWashingtonPost’ as Fake News

President Trump on Wednesday attacked The Washington Post and its owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for its coverage of him and his administration.

“The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!” the president tweeted Wednesday morning.

The president is escalating his attacks on the news media as he struggles to advance his agenda in Congress and grapples with the wide-ranging probe into whether his associates colluded with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s broadside against the Post came after it published an article revealing that fake Time magazine covers with Trump’s photo hung at several of his properties.

It also ran a piece headlined “Who’s afraid of Trump? Not enough Republicans — at least for now.” It details the president’s strained efforts to get wavering GOP senators behind the Senate plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

He also went after The New York Times earlier Wednesday over a similar piece.

“The failing @nytimes writes false story after false story about me. They don’t even call to verify the facts of a story. A Fake News Joke!” he tweeted. “Some of the Fake News Media likes to say that I am not totally engaged in healthcare. Wrong, I know the subject well & want victory for U.S.”

In his Post tweet, Trump appeared to reference Amazon’s past efforts to keep online purchases tax free. But the retailer does collect sales tax on purchases across the U.S.

Breaking with practice of past presidential nominees, Trump refused to release his tax returns during the 2016 campaign.

[The Hill]

White House Tells the World to Watch an Unverified James O’Keefe Video Attacking CNN

At Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used a question from Breitbart News to attack the entire press corps. Breitbart reporter Charlie Spiering asked about a specific story CNN retracted, but in her response, Sanders accused CNN of being “repeatedly wrong” on other stories, and encouraged people to watch an unverified video from James O’Keefe’s disreputable Project Veritas instead.

“Frankly everybody across the country to take a look at it,” Sanders said of the video that was just released Tuesday morning. “I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism. I think that we have gone to a place where, if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America.” She went on to refer to the “Russia/Trump hoax,” suggesting that all of the reporting about President Trump’s connections to Russia was more “fake news.” Her tirade prompted Brian Karem, a local reporter and editor for a Washington, D.C.-area paper, to openly criticize her for demonizing the media in this way.

In the Project Veritas video Sanders referred to, someone is secretly recording a series of casual conversations with John Bonifield, a CNN supervising producer who works in the network’s medical unit. Like just about every other “gotcha” video O’Keefe has released over the years, this one appears to be highly edited. Nevertheless, he claims that Bonifield’s comments prove that CNN knows its stories about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia are “mostly bullshit,” but is running them heavily just for the ratings.

The New York Times’ Sopan Deb was quick to point out the obvious flaws in the video. Besides the fact the video is clearly edited and O’Keefe is notoriously untrustworthy, a single producer for CNN’s medical coverage has absolutely no authority to speak about the network’s Russia coverage.

This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has promoted O’Keefe’s videos. In a presidential debate last October, then-candidate Trump promoted some of his other videos purportedly showing Hillary Clinton supporters boasting how they were inciting violence against Trump supporters. Though Trump claimed these efforts were “started by her,” there is no evidence in any of the videos to suggest Clinton had any knowledge about the supposed schemes.

And Trump’s support for O’Keefe extends beyond simply promoting his videos. In 2015, the Trump Foundation made a $10,000 donation to Project Veritas. Besides the fact that O’Keefe selectively edits all of his undercover videos, he also has a financial motivation to try to help Trump.

O’Keefe can also thank his duplicitous antics for a criminal conviction. After a botched “sting” of then-Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2010, he and three of his associates pleaded guilty to entering U.S. property under false pretenses. O’Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, a fine of $1,500, and 100 hours of community service. He later also agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement to an ACORN employee he secretly recorded in 2009.

Of the 17 minutes Sanders spent at the podium on Tuesday, she spent more than half of it criticizing the media, including the spiel in which she peddled O’Keefe’s video. All of the questions that provoked those criticisms came from conservative news outlets like Breitbart and Lifezette, while other outlets that were called upon asked policy questions.

[ThinkProgress]

Media

Trump on CNN Retraction: ‘What About All the Other Phony Stories They Do?’

President Trump blasted CNN early Tuesday after the network retracted a story published last week tying a top Trump ally to a Russian investment bank.

“Wow, CNN had to retract big story on ‘Russia,’ with 3 employees forced to resign,” Trump tweeted.

“What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!”

The president’s comments come after three CNN staffers resigned following the network’s retraction.

Thomas Frank, the author of the story, Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the CNN investigative unit that ran the story, and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN, the network reported Monday.

The retracted story connected Anthony Scaramucci, a top proponent of Trump, to a Russian investment fund run by a bank controlled by the Kremlin.

“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a spokesman said Monday.

An internal CNN investigation reportedly found normal editorial processes weren’t followed in the stories editing and publication.

Trump often hits on CNN and refers to stories from the network as “fake news.”

Trump early Tuesday also retweeted a modified image of the network’s logo that refers to CNN as FNN, or the Fake News Network.

[The Hill]

Reality

So if Trump wants to play the morality game, when is he or his staff going to resign over the phony stories he pushed? Because by the time of this article we’ve cataloged 312 complete lies from Trump since his campaign began.

Some examples of phony stories by Trump include:

  • Claiming his inauguration crowd sizes were the largest of all-time.
  • Claiming Barack Obama “wiretapped” him.
  • Claiming he had “tapes” of his private conversation with James Comey where he asked to drop the FBI’s Russia investigation.
  • Claiming at various rallies and in interviews for over four months that he donated $1 million dollars to veterans charities, cutting a check only when a journalist uncovered his lie.
  • Claiming he did not personally know reporter Serge Kovaleski, after telling people “Now the poor guy, you should see this guy,” then mocked his disability.
  • Claiming “thousands and thousands” of people in New Jersey cheered during the 9/11 terror attacks.
  • Claiming President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

You can take the high road and resign at any time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

White House Warns Reporters Not to Report on Instructions About Not Reporting on Press Conference

The Trump administration, acting on the fairly sound logic that its supporters don’t care in any way whatsoever about the civic principle that the government should be scrutinized by a free press, has started to cut down on the number of press conferences it gives that occur on camera. Wednesday, the administration announced that Thursday’s press briefing by Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be one such no-video affair, then introduced a Kafka-esque twist by declaring that the announcement itself was “NOT REPORTABLE.”

 

President Trump Calls London Mayor’s Words ‘Pathetic Excuse’

President Trump maintained his feud Monday with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, two days after a terrorist attack in the British capital.

“Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement,” Trump tweeted. “MSM is working hard to sell it!”

Trump, who also hit Khan for “alarmed” comment on Sunday, did take it out of context — the mayor was referring to the increased police presence in the city in the wake of the Saturday night attack, not to the attack itself.

Kahn’s statement in full:

My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.

The mayor has not responded to the president, but a spokesman told British media that Khan has “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks.”

During Monday’s press briefing, Trump spokesperson Sarah Sanders said that she did not see Trump’s comments as “picking a fight with the mayor of London at all.” Rather, he was trying to make a point about national security.

[USA Today]

 

 

Kellyanne Conway Attacks News Agencies for Covering Trump’s Tweets

Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway issued a new broadside against the media on Monday when she attacked reporters for covering things that the President of the United States says on Twitter.

Appearing on NBC’s Today, Conway knocked the press’s “obsession with covering everything [President Donald Trump] says on Twitter, and not what he does as president.”

However, co-host Craig Melvin called out Conway for knocking the media’s “obsession” with Trump’s Twitter feed by noting that Twitter is “his preferred method of communication with the American people.”

“That’s not true!” Conway objected.

“Well, he hasn’t given an interview in three weeks,” Melvin shot back. “So lately it has been his preferred method.”

Despite Conway’s assertions, Trump White House officials have often stressed that the president’s use of a Twitter is a way for him to communicate directly with the American public without having to go through the filter of the American media.

[Raw Story]

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