Former White House aide Cliff Sims has a new tell-all book, “Team of Vipers,” full of anecdotes about President Trump that seem destined to be catnip for journalists.

But when Sims appeared on “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, there was one story in particular that hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough wanted to know about.

In June 2017, Trump lashed out at the “Morning Joe” hosts by claiming that they came to Mar-a-Lago at New Year’s and that Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.” The tweet sparked a round of condemnation from journalists and politicians.

In Sims’s book, the alleged story behind the outrageous tweet comes to life in a vivid passage detailed by The Washington Post’s White House bureau chief Philip Rucker.

As White House director of message strategy, Sims regularly met Trump at the private elevator of the residence and accompanied him to video tapings — carrying a can of Tresemmé Tres Two hair spray, extra hold, for the boss. At one such taping, about an hour after Trump had tweeted that he saw MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski “bleeding badly from a face-lift,” the president sought feedback from Sims and Spicer.
“They’re going to say it’s not presidential,” Trump said, referring to the media. “But you know what? It’s modern-day presidential.” The president then raged about the “Morning Joe” program on which Brzezinski appears and instructed Spicer, “Don’t you dare say I watch that show.”

Sims relayed that story Tuesday on “Morning Joe.” The day Trump tweeted about Brzezinski, he came down his private elevator to meet Sims and then-press secretary Sean Spicer. “The president comes off and he says, ‘You’ve seen it?’ And I said, ‘I think everyone’s seen it!' ” Sims began.

“And he said, ‘Well, what did you think?’ And poor Sean Spicer says, ‘It was very aggressive.’ ” Sims said. “And it kind of goes into this whole thing, like, ‘they’re going to say it’s not presidential,’ 'tell them its modern-day presidential.’ And then he went into this thing about, ‘I don’t watch that show, so don’t tell anybody —’ ”

“Did anyone tell him that was a really dumb thing to do?” Brzezinski asked.

“Uh, yeah, sure, that’s one thing people would be surprised about —” Sims began, before Brzezinski interrupted.

“What did you say?” Brzezinski followed up.

“I sat that one out,” Sims said. He did, however, say the president “is actually open to people saying, ‘Hey, we actually should have done that one different.’ ”

“He’s going to do what he’s going to do, but he will take the feedback,” Sims said.

Brzezinski laughed throughout the Tuesday segment, but in the immediate aftermath of the tweets, she took a more somber tone. “This is absolutely nothing for me personally,” she said in 2017. “But I am very concerned about what this once again reveals about the president of the United States. It’s strange. … It does worry me about the country.”

In the book and on “Morning Joe,” Sims claims the president insisted that nobody reveal he watched the show because of his rivalry with the hosts.

On Tuesday morning, as Sims appeared on CNN, the president tweeted his take on his ex-aide’s book:

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