For months, Trump watchers have wondered: What will it take?
Meaning: What would finally force Republicans to face the fact, so obvious to so many, that President Trump isn’t quite right? Not in the correct sense but in the head sense.
The answer, apparently, is Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“This is not normal,” people are finally saying in response to Trump’s latest Twitter attacks in which the president of the United States limboed under his own low bar and chastised Brzezinski and co-anchor/fiance Joe Scarborough with his usual knuckle-dragging flair. Applying his 140-character attention span, he squibbed:
“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!”
This probably isn’t the way Brzezinski would have preferred things to go, but in Trump’s vernacular, she’s been cruisin’ for a bruisin’ for a long time. That is, she’s been calling out The Donald with everything but an engraved invitation to duel at dawn.
And, high time, I might add. For months during the early part of Trump’s campaign, “MoJo,” as the show is nicknamed, was a welcome station for the celebrity firing squad. Around Washington, people had begun referring to the morning manfest, where Brzezinski gamely serves as reluctant den mother, as “Morning Trump.” This was also the period when then-candidate Trump constantly bragged that he hadn’t spent any money on advertising — and no one wondered why. He regularly called in to the show, essentially running his campaign from Trump Tower.
Trump had ample coverage elsewhere as well. When your strength is branding and your name is the brand, there’s little challenge to getting airtime. Cable television anchors and producers not only became Trump’s unpaid marketers but also bear some of the responsibility/blame for Trump’s election. Then, things got strange. Trump won. Then Trump became even odder than usual, even according to his friends and others inclined to like him. Always fiercely competitive, obviously, as well as flawed, Trump nevertheless was able to control his worst impulses before becoming president, Scarborough and Brzezinski co-wrote in a Post op-ed Friday.
Or, perhaps, something is actually wrong with the guy. Plenty of physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists think so and have written me volumes in off-the-record diagnoses. A group of them have joined forces to co-write a book due out this fall.
It isn’t so much that The Donald always hits back, and harder, as his flacks boast. It’s that he’s so thin-skinned, such a political amateur — and so utterly lacking in the fine art of disregard — that he can’t let anything pass. This is the single greatest concern for the witted, not his idiotic tweets in the night. Impulsivity combined with narcissistic injury is a red flag to many for the man with access to the nuclear codes.
And so, as more and more Americans embrace “This is not normal” as the bumper sticker du jour, many are wondering again: Will this be it? Will the final straw be Brzezinski’s alleged badly bleeding face-lift, which she needlessly denied in the op-ed? She only tweaked some skin beneath the chin, she said. CNN’s Brian Stelter, meanwhile, has posted a photo of Brzezinski on the day in question and she shows no evidence of surgery and certainly not blood. What woman has a face-lift and goes bleeding to a famous club where tout le beau monde are partying?
To the point, is this it? My friends, don’t count on it.
Nothing will happen until GOP constituents start shouting and, remember, these are the same people Trump has taught to hate the media. Also, this is hardly the worst example of Trump’s errant charm. Yet, suddenly, his insulting Brzezinski, widely characterized as evidence of misogyny (what about “Psycho Joe”?), is supposed to send congressional Republicans into paroxysms of penitential rebuke-and-replace?
Brzezinski is wonder woman — smart, strong, wealthy — and engaged to marry her best friend. I seriously doubt she has been wounded by Trump’s pathetic second-grader taunts. But I get it. The most one can hope for these days is that enough Republican men can be shamed into defending Brzezinski, a woman many of them know personally — and who has thumbs-down power over potential guests on the show everybody in Washington watches.
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Jennifer Rubin: Why are these tweets different from any other?
Eugene Robinson: There Trump goes again
Alyssa Rosenberg: Why I’m grateful every time President Trump insults a woman