Just as Donald Trump tries to tone down his campaign trail rhetoric, he showed a more familiar side of himself on Twitter. The Republican presidential nominee ripped into Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on the social network Monday morning.
“Tried watching low-rated @Morning_Joe this morning, unwatchable! @morningmika is off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess,” Trump wrote. In another tweet, he wrote, “Some day, when things calm down, I’ll tell the real story of @JoeNBC and his very insecure long-time girlfriend, @morningmika. Two clowns!”
That second message was a reference to the long-standing rumors that Brzezinski and Scarborough have a romantic relationship, although they have denied that in the past.
“Thanks for watching. Morning Joe is enjoying it’s best ratings ever thanks to obsessed fans like you. GLAD,” Scarborough wrote in response to Trump’s comments today.
Here’s a look at Scarborough and Trump’s relationship.
1. The Tweets Came After Scarborough Began Increasing His Criticism of Trump
The comments from Trump on Twitter today did not come from out of nowhere. Scarborough and Brzezinski have both grown increasingly critical of Trump, who has often fought back. The former Florida congressman took his criticism a step farther on August 9, when he published an op-ed in the Washington Post, asking that the GOP stop supporting Trump. It was published just after Trump’s “Second Amendment people” comment.
The presidential candidate that House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed tried to explain away his suggestion of an assassination by telling Sean Hannity his comments were meant to unite supporters before the election. It’s too bad for Trump and his supporters that his comments related to what Hillary Clinton would do after being elected and nominating Supreme Court justices that gun owners would not like.
He later wrote that Trump crossed a “bloody line” that couldn’t be ignored and that Republicans need to “get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens.”
Trump responded by calling Morning Joe “sad and irrelevant.”
Scarborough responded by thanking Trump for “continuing to obsess over our irrelevant show.”
In the latest episode of the feud, Scarborough posted a music video called “Amnesty Don” on his Facebook page, seen below.
2. Scarborough Suggested That the 2016 Race Presented a Great Opportunity for a Third-Party Candidate to Run
The feud between Scarborough and Trump can have its roots traced to May, when Scarborough said on Morning Joe that, “There is not a better time for someone to run as an Independent candidate.”
On the same day he made that comment, Scarborough published a Washington Post op-ed in which he wrote that Trump has “poor fundamentals” when it comes to running a presidential campaign.
“…Unless the Trump team figures out how to build a campaign operation that focuses more on fundamentals than flashy PR tricks, the next deal Donald Trump will be negotiating will be his return to The Apprentice,” Scarborough wrote.
Here are Trump’s responses to that:
3. Scarborough Once Refused to Rule Out Being Trump’s Running Mate
It didn’t always used to be like this. In fact, during the primaries, Morning Joe was frequently targeted by critics who said that Trump, Scarborough and Brzezinski were getting too close. CNNMoney reported in February that NBC News and MSNBC reporters were not comfortable with their relationship.
“People don’t like that Joe is promoting Trump,” one source told CNNMoney. Others said that NBC News and MSNBC executives are aware of the concerns and “It’s an issue.”
CNNMoney also reported that Scarborough has stayed at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beaach, Florida and that the two Morning Joe hosts visited Trump in his hotel during the New Hampshire primary.
After the CNNMoney story appeared, the Morning Joe hosts went on for 10 minutes about the criticism of their Trump coverage.
There was also a case where Scarborough initially refused to rule out being considered Trump’s Vice Presidential candidate. “I don’t know. I don’t think he would ask me,” Scarborough told radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Scarborough took to Twitter to flatly deny any chance that he would have been Trump’s VP pick.
4. Scarborough & Brzezinski Moderated a Trump Town Hall in February & Leaked Recordings Appear to Have Trump Telling Them That They Made Him a ‘Legendary Figure’
On February 17, Scarborough and Brzezinski hosted a town hall that aired on MSNBC, the same night that CNN aired a town hall forum with other Republican candidates. As Gawker reported, comedian Harry Shearer posted audio (heard below) that was apparently recorded between commercial breaks. In it, Trump tells them, “You had me almost as a legendary figure,” in reference to the show from earlier that day.
Just days before that recording surfaced, Brzezinski told the Daily Beast that the attacks on their Trump coverage are “unfair.”
In that interview, she called Scarborough “the best prognosticator and analyst on television… I have never seen any relationship that he has with a politician on the left or the right ever get in the way of him being able to offer accurate predictions. Ever.”
On February 23, Rolling Stone called Scarborough and Brzezinski “Trump’s Lapdogs.”
5. ‘Morning Joe’ Boasted That Scarborough Predicted Trump Would Win the Nomination
In March, the Morning Joe team put together a highlight reel of Scarborough’s predictions, showing that he theorized correctly from June 16, 2015 onward that Trump could be the Republican nominee. That was the same day that Trump announced his candidacy.
“First we were mocked and ridiculed for saying Trump could win, and now that it looks like he is on his way to winning the nomination, a lot of people who missed the boat are trying to turn that around on us,” Scarborough said of the criticism of the show’s relationship with Trump, Slate notes.
In April, as Poynter notes, Scarborough blasted journalists’ coverage of Trump.
“The jackasses who have been doing this for nine months should stop embarrassing themselves. It’s getting really, really old. What’s insulting to me is you can’t state politically obvious things, right, without people saying you’re in the tank for Trump or, ah, you’re supporting Trump. No, no, no,” Scarborough said on Morning Joe.
On October 20, the morning after the third presidential debate, CNNMoney notes that Scarborough called The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol a liar for saying they were supportive of Trump’s candidacy.
“Well no, no, no, you just did,” Scarborough told Kristol. “You lied. Please don’t come on my air and lie…. I can’t even believe you’re doing this. I don’t know why you’re so bitter. You’re actually crying.”
After this, Scarborough tweeted: