President Trump unleashed a twitter attack on MSNBC personalities Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski today. Shortly before 9 a.m., as their show, “Morning Joe,” was ending, Trump tweeted:
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’s attack was not unprovoked. According to the New York Times, the two hacks have have openly questioned the president’s mental state. And the sophomoric Brzezinski posted a photograph on Twitter of a box of Cheerios, with the words “Made For Little Hands.”
The Times reminds us that this is a reference to a longstanding insult against Trump about the size of his hands. Trump, I’m pretty sure, needed no reminding.
Even so, it is most disheartening that the President of the United States took the “Morning Joe” bait and indulged in a juvenile war of words with a pair of media lightweights. Speaker Paul Ryan was right to say: “Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment.” Sen. Lindsey Graham was on the mark with this comment: “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office.” Graham added, a bit melodramatically, that the tweet “represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.”
This kind of criticism of Trump’s tweet is precisely the correct response. But Trump haters are attacking Ryan and Graham. Ramesh Ponnuru notes that Ron Brownstein, the editorial director of National Journal Group, has issued a challenge to Republicans who have criticized the tweeting. What, he asks, are they going to do about it?
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post and John Weaver, a Republican strategist who can’t stand Trump, joined in deriding Ryan and Graham. Rubin says they are “show[ing] a complete absence of character and moral leadership.”
These complaints deserve ridicule. Ponnuru supplies it:
I’m open to the argument that Republican officials should back up that criticism with action–if only I saw a reasonable action they should take. What exactly do Brownstein et al want the Republican critics of Trump’s tweets to do about them?
Speaker Ryan can’t take away Trump’s twitter account. Senator Graham can’t give Trump the self-restraint and decency neither nature nor upbringing seems to have supplied him.
Is Senator Sasse supposed to impeach Trump over his tweets?. . .I am sorry to say that it seems necessary to point out that this response is insane. If it were sane, it would mean that none of the criticisms of Trump made by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should be taken seriously, either, since they haven’t declared for impeachment either.
Crude and obnoxious tweeting is not a high crime or misdemeanor.
Some liberal respondents suggested that the problem is that the critics keep “voting with Trump” and “supporting his agenda.” The idea, I suppose, is that to register their opposition to obnoxious Trump behavior Republicans should delay the confirmation of conservative nominees they support, vote against legislation they favor, and so on.
Even better, I suppose, congressional Republicans with misgivings about Trump could commit ritual suicide, or switch parties, whichever would be more painful.
Trump is driving the Jennifer Rubins and John Weavers of the world crazy. I don’t condone it, but it’s rather amusing.
CORRECTION: The original version of this post stated that Trump is driving the Mark Weavers of the world crazy. I meant to say “the John Weavers,” as it is John Weaver, not Mark Weaver, who somehow finds the responses of Paul Ryan and Lindsey Graham inadequate. I regret the error.
JOHN adds: This morning’s Twitter tirade against the Morning Joe show was of course stupid and hurtful to President Trump. I would only add this comment: in general, I think it is good that Trump has been willing to fight back against the press. George W. Bush wouldn’t do that, and the Democratic Party press destroyed his administration.
So I like to see a Republican push back agains the likes of CNN, which, along with many others, has disgraced itself with its irrational hostility toward the president. But Trump seemingly doesn’t know when to stop. Tweets like this morning’s cross any defensible line of taste or judgment, and tend to discredit the president’s willingness to battle the press. It is too bad. Most of the time, I think Trump’s attacks (one should say, counter-attacks) on the press are well taken and effective. But they are compromised when the president uses inexcusably poor judgment, as he did this morning.