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“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski says in a new interview that her conflict with President Trump has made her worried about her security, family and privacy.
"It has gotten scary,” she told the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes,” expressing concern that “anything goes” with Trump. “And we've made changes in our life to deal with the fact that it has gotten scary,” she said of her husband and co-host, Joe Scarborough.
“There have been times where he sent the National Enquirer after us,” she further claimed. “Calling my daughters, calling people who have worked for me over the years, personal friends.”
In the summer of 2017, Brzezinski and Scarborough published an op-ed accusing the White House of threatening them with a hit piece in the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid that had a cozy relationship with Trump. Both the National Enquirer and Trump denied the allegation.
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
Brzezinski, who is promoting her new book "Earn It! Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in Your 20s and Beyond", said the “Morning Joe” hosts and Trump once enjoyed an amicable relationship. She likened Trump to a “crazy uncle.”
“We did things together,” she recalled. “He gave money to my philanthropic events that I would take part in.”
Trump made regular appearances on the show during the early months of his campaign.
“A lot of people misunderstood the relationship,” Brzezinski said. “We were very critical of Donald Trump during the campaign. When he said racist things, we called him out on it. We even went and assailed him in private and said, ‘You've got to stop this. It's disgusting. It's wrong, and it's not what we know.’"
She said Trump was dismissive of their concerns.
“He said, ‘Well, it works,’ or he'd say, ‘OK, OK, I won't do it. But, you know, it works.’”
“And we're just like, ‘You know what, we can't support this.’"
Brzezinski noted that she “knew things had changed” between the MSNBC hosts and Trump in June 2017, when he sent a series of tweets calling her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and claiming she had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a recent encounter around New Year’s Eve.
But the discourse between the hosts and Trump had been deteriorating in the public eye for some time before that. She recalled an episode in December 2015, when Trump phoned into “Morning Joe” and attempted to “filibuster” while discussing his recently proposed Muslim ban, resulting in Scarborough cutting Trump off midsentence.
“Joe just hung up on him on TV,” she said. “And that's never happened to him before. So he came back after the break and behaved.”
“You know, he definitely was obsessed with the show, with being on the show,” Brzezinski added. “Because being on ‘Morning Joe’ has something to do with being accepted in clubs that I think Donald didn't feel accepted in. Polite society. So it was important to him.”
Days after Scarborough interrupted Trump on air, he was back on “Morning Joe” again, this time discussing the Republican candidate’s public embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s praise.
“What he showed was a very weak, small, more and more overtly racist individual who is obsessed with dictators and especially, for some reason, Vladimir Putin,” Brzezinski said, noting that she and Scarborough didn’t hide their dismay on air.
"You can see our faces fall in real time, the relationship turning.”
Brzezinski further said Trump is destroying “the value of truth.”
“This is something we've never seen before in the history of America,” she said. “There's Republicans and Democrats — and then there's Trump, which is a whole different ball game. Someone not following the law. Someone probably taking part in impeachable offenses by the day.”
She said she is hoping to stay above the fray as the 2020 presidential race heats up.
“The only way we can fight back as the media being assaulted by this president on a daily basis is to be the best we can, to stick to the facts,” she said. “You know, there were days that I said things that were shrill. I said things that were — I used inappropriate language. Those are days I lose.”
“If we get our facts slightly wrong, if we overmodulate our language, if we become the story, those are the days we lose.”