Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are not pleased with President Trump.
In an op-ed published in the Washington Post early Friday morning called “Donald Trump is not well,” the engaged “Morning Joe” co-hosts delivered a bevvy of critiques of President Trump’s Twitter assault on Brzezinski on Thursday.
In the series of tweets, Trump described Brzezinski as “low I.Q. Crazy Mika”. He also called Scarborough “Psycho Joe.” Probably the most incendiary comments in the tirade, Trump claimed that the duo “insisted to join” him in Mar-a-Lago around New Year’s Eve but that Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”
The personal attack was reminiscent of Trump’s previous comments that NBC News host, formerly of Fox News, Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her whereever” after she questioned him at a presidential debate in August 2015.
Scarborough and Brzenzinski addressed the barrage of tweets – and Trump’s purported “obsession with women’s blood” – in their response, stating that the “president’s unhealthy obsession with ‘Morning Joe’ does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs.” The two also pushed back against claims that Brzezinski’s face was bleeding, saying that her face was “perfectly intact.”
Personal attacks aside, the op-ed highlights an important narrative about judgements of Trump’s demeanor and mental faculties since becoming president. In particular, Scarborough and Brzezinski explain that their relationship with Trump spans more than a decade but that they “have noticed a change in his behavior over the past few years.”
Further, they say,
“Perhaps that is why we were neither shocked nor insulted by the president’s personal attack. 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.”
While the pair is tacitly suggesting that Trump may have some progressive issues with diminishing mental health (a claim that has been made by others), they are also framing their narrative with a temporal backdrop. Scarborough and Brzezinski are alluding to some shift in Trump’s behavior that has been exacerbated by recent shifts in time.
But what’s so different about pre-candidacy Trump, candidate Trump, and President Trump? In my estimation, he has been vulgar, out of “check,” and obnoxiously harmful to women, disabled people, and other marginalized people for many years.
Frankly, Trump has been demeaning women for nearly a decade.
Probably the most well-known peeks into Donald Trump’s vulgarity came in the form of an October 2016 release of a recorded conversation between him and former “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. In the lude conversation, Trump suggested that men like himself “can do anything” to women including “grab them by the p*ssy.” The conversation was recorded in 2005, well before Trump’s emboldened trip to the White House.
A highly publicized example of Trump’s ire for his critics is his feud with former “The View” cast member Rosie O’Donnell. The altercation started when O’Donnell criticized Trump for not firing Miss USA winner Tara Connor after news broke that she had engaged in underage drinking, drug use, and sexual activities.
O’Donnell reacted on her show by telling viewers that he had been bankrupt, criticizing his multiple divorces, and calling him a “snake oil salesman on ‘Little House on the Prairie’.” As a comedian and professional commentator, O’Donnell’s words weren’t particularly shocking.
Trump responded, calling her a “real loser” and a “woman out of control.”
Trump even threatened that O’Donnell would “rue the words she said” and that he might sue her, a development he said would be “fun.” He ended the interview by calling O’Donnell his “nice fat little Rosie.”
Later, in the very same debate with Kelly where he would later invade her privacy, Trump called O’Donnell a “fat pig.”
The President has continued his assault on O’Donnell even when she has done relatively little to stoke the flames.
But, Trump’s ongoing attacks haven’t ended with O’Donnell or with women.
A major ad feature during former New York Senator Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for the presidency accused then-candidate Trump of mocking New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski. Kovaleski lives with a condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita or AMC, a disease which affects the flexibility of the joints. After the Trump campaign’s multiple attempts at denying the claim, Politifact determined the ad was accurate.
Just last Thursday, at a rally in Cedar Rapids, IA, Trump suggested that “poor” people shouldn’t be in charge of America’s economy. He told supporters that rich people have “the kind of thinking” he wants in his administration.
It is hard to believe that Trump simply developed these biases and beliefs overnight on January 19th or even that they only emerged in “the last few years” as Scarborough and Brzezinski claim.
When one examines Trump’s very public antics over the past decade, the last few years really don’t seem to stray from the norm. In fact, all that seems to have changed for Trump is his accumulation of power and increased access to his personal life.
If Scarborough and Brzezinski (and Hillary Clinton herself) managed to be friends with him then, they should know that he has consistently delivered vitriolic commentary against those who criticize him or who he simply doesn’t like.
The only difference now: they are his target.