Joe and Mika Respond: Trump Is Obsessed With Mika, Threatened to Leak Negative Stories About Us to Media
Friday morning saw MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough responding to President Donald Trump's inflammatory tweetstorm from the day before.
The duo — who are also engaged — were scheduled to be absent from the show on Friday, as they planned to start their Fourth of July vacation early. Instead, the couple made a brief appearance at the top of the 7 o'clock hour to discuss the president's attack on Brzezinski.
“I asked Mika to come in particular because she does not need me or anyone else here to defend her, trust me, as anyone who knows her knows,” co-host Willie Geist said of his female counterpart. “Mika is smart, she's strong, she makes people in power uncomfortable, and she fears absolutely no one.”
Geist then introduced his guest hosts for the day, Donny Deutsch — who initially appeared wearing sunglasses — saying, “I had a little work done and I just am a little self-conscious about it [...] Just a little eye thing.” Obviously a joke, Deutsch then removed his sunglasses.
Guest host Katty Kay opined that there was no way to view Trump's tweets as “anything but sexist and vicious.”
Deutsch said that Trump had “picked the wrong schoolyard to come into.” He continued by defending Brzezinski: “I'm not an employee of NBC so I'm going to go thug here. I'm sorry. Because a friend of ours, she's a good woman, she's a great mom, and he's a pig. He's a vulgar pig.”
From there, a flurry of clips and sound bites from both Geist's guest hosts and various congresspersons expressing their dissatisfaction with the president's behavior were shared.
Ahead of their Friday morning appearance, Brzezinski and Scarborough co-authored an op-ed for The Washington Post. In the piece, they highlight Trump's “disturbing” treatment of women, saying:
From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women’s genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children. We were heartened to hear a number of Republican lawmakers call out Mr. Trump for his offensive words and can only hope that the women who are closest to him will follow their examples. It would be the height of hypocrisy to claim the mantle of women’s empowerment while allowing a family member to continue such abusive conduct.
As they took to the desk of their own show Friday morning, Brzezinski touched on the massive outpouring of support she has received in the prior 24-hours, not before stating that she's “fine” after the president's remarks the day before.
“Willie, we got, actually, a lot of texts, a lot of calls, actually, from ambassadors and leaders that we've known through the years across the world. Just expressing shock,” she said. “And that's when you go from going, 'you know what? This is just Donald.' We've known Donald for 12 years. When you're getting e-mails and calls and texts from people across the world saying we stand by you like we're a sovereign state.”
Later in the segment, things took a somewhat shocking turn. Geist brought up a subject that he and the couple had “talked about in private” but “never talked about it on television.”
Geist then went on to read a quote from the op-ed that was published by his co-hosts earlier that morning: “This year White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas.”
Scarborough plainly said that “I think we have to talk about it now because it explains the relationship and his really strange obsession with this show and in particular, his really disturbing obsession with Mika.”
He went on to detail the situation: The National Enquirer did, in fact, call them with threats of running a negative story. President Trump, Scarborough admitted, is “friends with" the guy who runs the National Enquirer. The call entailed someone telling the duo that if they "called the president up and apologized for [their] coverage” then Trump would call off The National Enquirer.
Scarborough then claimed that he had “three people at the top of the administration” calling him regarding this claim.
“That's blackmail,” one of the off-camera co-hosts opined.
Mika then detailed the threats: “They were calling my children. They were calling close friends. They were pinning the story on my ex-husband. I knew he would never do that. So I knew it was a lie and they had nothing.”
Guest host Harold Ford Jr would suggest that this behavior was particularly worrisome:
“There's a seriousness about this. The president says I'll make something go away if you bow to me or kowtow to me. The fact that his response because he's upset about the why he's being criticized on health care, attacks on infrastructure and policy is to attack Mika personally. We have to figure out as a country who are we? What have we become if we allow this to be a leader?”
Ford then expressed his hope that “the country shows we won't stand for this.”
Scarborough would wind down the segment with a bit of levity. “We've got the best life,” he said. “I did just learn to read just a couple months ago.”
The couple would then depart for their planned Fourth of July vacation, still early, albeit a little later than expected.