Morning jolt: Trump tweets personal attacks at Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough

President Trump lashed out at Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski with unusually harsh personal attacks on the co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” calling Scarborough “psycho” and Brzezinski “crazy” while mocking her appearance.

“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore),” Trump wrote on Twitter. “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!”

An MSNBC spokeswoman responded in a statement to Yahoo News: “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.”

“Never imagined a day when I would think to myself, ‘it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States,'” tweeted Mark Kornblau, senior vice president of communications for the NBC News Group.

Several prominent Republicans, including Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, condemned the president’s attacks.

“Please just stop,” Sasse tweeted. “This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., agreed.

“This has to stop – we all have a job – 3 branches of gov’t and media,” Collins tweeted. “We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.”

“We need civility and respect in our political discourse,” Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., tweeted. “POTUS’s tweets this morning are the opposite of that.”

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said Trump’s tweets “don’t help our political or national discourse” — particularly in the wake of the shooting at a congressional baseball game earlier this month.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., scolded Trump on Twitter.

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

Fox News host Meghan McCain called Trump’s tweet “cruel” and “unpresidential.”

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., tweeted her disgust.

“This is not okay,” Jenkins wrote. “As a female in politics I am often criticized for my looks. We should be working to empower women.”

Ana Navarro, a conservative CNN commentator and frequent critic of Trump’s, said his tweets fit a disturbing pattern of a “long list of women Trump’s attacked.”

Brzezinski herself took a thinly veiled swipe at Trump, tweeting a photo of the back of a Cheerios box that included an image of a child with the tagline “Made For Little Hands.”

Trump didn’t indicate what offended him in particular. The hosts have been increasingly critical of the administration in recent months. On Thursday they discussed, among other topics, Trump’s apparent lack of knowledge about the details of the Republican health care bill and how presidential adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s one-man diplomacy in the Middle East was undercutting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Appearing on Fox News, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s tweets.

“I think what’s necessary is to push back against unnecessary attacks,” Sanders said. “I have seen far worse things come out of that show.”

She added: “This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media or liberal elites in Hollywood or anywhere else.”

Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, said the first lady — who has made opposition to cyber-bullying a signature issue — stands by the president.

“As the [she] has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” Grisham said.

Related: ‘This is not okay’: Congresswomen blast Trump for attacking Mika

Scarborough and Brzezinski, who are engaged to be married, did visit Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., on New Year’s Eve. At the time, Scarborough bristled at reports suggesting they had “partied” with the then president elect, insisting they were simply there trying to land an inauguration interview.

The pair then visited Trump at the White House shortly after his inauguration.

While announcing their engagement in Vanity Fair magazine, Scarborough and Brzezinski said they discussed the idea of their marriage with Trump and his son-in-law, Kushner, who offered to marry them. “Why would you marry them?” Trump said, according to Scarborough. “They could have the president of the United States marry them.”

Trump’s tweeted attack on the first couple of cable news comes a day after the president erupted on Twitter over a New York Times report that suggested he doesn’t understand some key points of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“The failing @nytimes writes false story after false story about me,” Trump tweeted. “They don’t even call to verify the facts of a story. A Fake News Joke!”

The newspaper disputed Trump’s claim.

“We always call the White House for comment,” a Times spokeswoman told Yahoo News. “The president’s tweet is incorrect.”

The Times reported that a Republican senator who attended Monday’s health care meeting at the White House left with “a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan” and “seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy.”

Trump also fumed at the Washington Post, which on Tuesday reported that a framed copy of Time magazine with Trump on the cover — displayed in at least two of Trump’s golf clubs — is fake.

In an interview on “Fox & Friends” earlier this month, Ivanka Trump, who left her role at the Trump Organization to take a job as an unpaid White House adviser, said she felt blindsided by the pressure-cooker atmosphere of Washington and the cacophony of criticism swirling around her father’s presidency.

“There’s a level of viciousness that I was not expecting,” she said.

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