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Trump attacks MSNBC and CNN, defends his use of social media in series of tweets

Trump's long feud with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, explained. (Video: Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
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BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The president is on vacation from Washington — but not from Twitter. And certainly not from his ongoing feuds with cable television news networks MSNBC and CNN.

The Tweeter in Chief was busy Saturday morning, launching familiar attacks against the two networks over their coverage of him.

Continuing his beef with MSNBC's “Morning Joe,” President Trump suggested that the hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are “not bad people” — even as he disparaged them again — but that their show is undermined by their bosses at the network.

Trump had been angered by Brzezinski's criticism of him on the show Thursday and attacked her publicly then, suggesting she had appeared at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last New Year's Eve asking to get into a party and bleeding from a facelift. Brzezinski and Scarborough have flatly denied Trump's account.

But Trump, who is spending three nights at his Bedminister estate in northern New Jersey, didn't save his ire only for the “Morning Joe” crew. He also hit NBC and its parent company, Comcast, over the decision by MSNBC to cancel Greta Van Susteren's short-lived cable show on Friday. The president cast it as an ideological decision made because Van Susteren was fairer to him in her coverage.

In recent months MSNBC, which has a reputation for liberal views, has hired a number of conservative-leaning hosts and analysts, including New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and Washington Post columnist George Will, and those who have worked for Republican administrations, including Nicolle Wallace, who served for George W. Bush. But those analysts also have been largely critical of Trump.

The president also leveled another broadside in his ongoing feud with CNN, which he has repeatedly referred to as “fake news.” He and his aides have lambasted the cable network after it retracted and apologized for a story that linked one of his transition aides and the executive of a Russian investment fund. CNN fired three reporters and editors involved in the story, which the network said did not undergo standard vetting procedures.

He continued his attack on CNN Saturday evening, and then defended his use of social media. Some Republicans called his comments about Brzezinski on Twitter beneath the dignity of his office.

The networks and their hosts did not have immediate reactions to Trump's tweets.

While Trump's Twitter feed went silent later that evening as the president addressed an event for veterans and Christians at the Kennedy Center, his press bashing remained in full force.

“The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them. The people know the truth," Trump told the nearly full concert hall. "The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I’m president and they’re not.”

Yet the president did use Twitter for a bit more uplifting message on Saturday morning:

A look at President Trump’s first six months in office

U.S. President Donald Trump, center, signs an executive order at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, D.C. U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Trump acted on two of the most fundamental -- and controversial -- elements of his presidential campaign, building a wall on the border with Mexico and greatly tightening restrictions on who can enter the U.S. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Pool via Bloomberg (Chip Somodevilla/Bloomberg)