White House Defends Trump Tweets Attacking TV Host’s Looks As Fighting ‘Fire With Fire’

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Fallout continued Thursday after President Donald Trump sent a series of tweets ridiculing the looks and temperament of a female cable television host whose show he says he’s stopped watching.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Trump on Thursday announced a new series of initiatives on energy.

“We are now on the cusp of a true energy revolution,” he said, announcing a series of initiatives. “We will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector, which I am so happy about, which produces clean, renewable and emission-free energy. A complete review of U.S. nuclear energy policy will help us find new ways of revitalizing this crucial energy source.”

But the energy announcement was overshadowed by the partisan criticism of Trump’s tweets.
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Trump used a series of tweets to go after Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who’ve criticized Trump on their MSNBC show “Morning Joe.”

“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!”

They spent time at Trump’s Florida resort — a visit Scarborough said was to arrange a Trump interview.

Brzezinski replied with a tweet of a box of Cheerios.

MSNBC responded via Twitter, saying “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.”

The tweet storm followed a segment on “Morning Joe” criticizing the fake Time Magazine cover hanging in Trump’s country clubs.

Brzezinski: “Nothing makes a man feel better than making a fake cover of a magazine about himself, lying every day and destroying the country.”

Scarborough: “OK, enough about me… (chatter).”

Brzezinski: “Well he’s covering his hands here because they’re teensie.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s tweets saying he fights “fire with fire.”

Sanders told Fox News the president has never been someone “who gets attacked and doesn’t push back.”

Speaking at the White House, Sanders was asked again about whether the president went too far.

“I don’t think so,” Sanders said. “I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire.”

“The president has been attacked mercilessly on personal accounts by members of that program. I think he’s been very clear that when he gets attacked, he’s going to hit back,” she added. “I think the American people elected somebody who’s tough, who’s smart and who’s a fighter. That’s Donald Trump.”

“Everybody wants to make this an attack on a woman. What about the constant attacks he receives?” Sanders said.

Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers were critical of the tweets.

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

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Trump’s tweet was “Beneath the office.”

And Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi is demanding Trump apologize, saying the tweets are sexist and an “assault on the freedom of the press & an insult to all women.”

In response to a question regarding the tweets, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “Obviously I don’t see that as an appropriate comment. I think, what we’re trying to do around here is to improve the tone and civility of the debate and this obviously doesn’t do that.”

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

Sasse did not support Trump in the presidential race, and Graham ran against Trump for the GOP nomination.

“I was just extremely disappointed. That’s not OK,” Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins said. “As a female who’s been involved in politics for a number of years, I’ve had to deal with this, and it’s just not acceptable. We need to demand better of folks in positions like myself and the presidet.”

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) also expressed disappointment.

“I was just extremely disappointed. That’s not OK,” Jenkins said. “As a female who’s been involved in politics for a number of years, I’ve had to deal with this and it’s just not acceptable. We need to demand better.”

Also Thursday, the administration also announced new sanctions aimed at North Korea, targeting a Chinese bank that has allegedly laundered money through the country.

The president will also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week at the G20 Summit.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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