The conflict between President Donald Trump and Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough reached a fever pitch on Thursday when Trump aimed two sexist tweets at Brzezinski. Based on the tweets’ time-stamps, Trump took to social media to vent his anger after Brzezinski joked on air about the fake Time magazine cover hanging in at least four of Trump’s clubs.
The fallout from the tweets has been rapid and widespread, with media personalities and politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, including Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, calling the president’s tweets “flat out gross and disgusting.”
Brzezinski and Scarborough have themselves launched a defensive, publishing an op-ed in the Washington Post Friday.
However, things got even more intense during an interview on their own show Friday morning. Chatting with fellow MSNBC co-anchors, the pair disclosed details regarding some incredible claims; one being that Trump’s vitriol towards Brzezinski may have prompted the president to make violent comments behind closed doors, and the other being that the White House has even attempted to bribe the pair into submission by claiming the president could stop the National Enquirer from publishing a negative story about them.
Scarborough began the interview by making the point that Trump seems to have a special vendetta towards women who criticize him, noting that the backlash to his own attacks on Trump has been considerably less vicious than what’s been doled out to Brzezinski.
“For some reason, we’ve seen this time and time again with Mika. I will insult him over the ‘Muslim ban’ or say that he’s a racist. … All of these things through the year. And for some reason, he always goes after Mika. And it’s always personal with Mika.”
Scarborough also claimed that a “very well-known congressman” had called him following a conversation he was privy to — along with 20 other House members — in which the president went on a disturbing rant about Brzezinski. After allegedly brushing Scarborough’s comments aside, claiming he was “a joke,” Trump really laid into Brzezinski specifically.
“We were on the phone and he said ‘I’ve never made a call like this, I’ve been in politics my whole life, I actually… [Trump] scared me. Because he was vicious when he turned from you to Mika. His face was red, he started talking about blood coming out of her ears, out of her eyes.’
And this congressman said, ‘I’ve been in politics for decades, I’ve never seen anything like this.’
And he said, ‘I don’t even know why I’m calling you, but I was just scared. I was scared for you guys and I wanted you to know.’”
Scarborough again circled back to Trump’s behavior towards women. “He attacks women. Because he fears women.”
“He has a fixation,” Brzezinksi echoed.
To put this into context, remember Stephen Colbert’s infamously lewd dig at Donald Trump that prompted an FCC investigation? Trump’s response to that was pretty minimal in comparison to his low blow at Brzezinski, merely calling Colbert a “no-talent guy” for saying something that could be considered much more explicit.
In their op-ed Friday and again during the Morning Joe interview, the pair drove home their belief that Trump is not mentally stable. “The guy that’s in the White House now is not the guy we knew two years ago.”
“Not even close,” Brzezinski echoed.
Another revelation in Friday’s op-ed was Brzezinski and Scarborough’s claim that top White House staffers told the hosts that the National Enquirer was going to publish a smear piece on them unless they called the president to apologize for their harsh coverage of him. It’s no secret that Trump has close connections to the National Enquirer, and it’s been publicly disclosed that the National Enquirer’s content is at times skewed to favor him. The publication even endorsed him as its preferred Presidential candidate in 2016.
As New York Magazine reports, David J. Pecker, the chief executive at America Media, Inc. (which owns both The National Enquirer and US Weekly, reportedly has his eye on purchasing TIME.
Brzezinski says the tabloid was attempting to do a defamatory story involving her ex-husband, claiming her teenage daughters were being harassed with phone calls from the National Enquirer when Scarborough was contacted by the White House and notified that it would all stop if the they would just apologize.
“I had three people at the very top of the administration calling me. The calls kept coming and coming,” Scarborough said.
Trump has since denied the claim — on Twitter, of course — but Scarborough claims he has documents that can prove it.
You can watch the entire interview on Morning Joe below: