By CHRISTOPHER MELE
Ms. Brzezinski said she believed the tweets were in response to a segment on the show that addressed fake Time magazine covers that Mr. Trump had made up and displayed at his country clubs.
She said she knew he would be “tweaked” by the joking but that it was “unbelievably alarming that this president is so easily played.”
Her co-host, Joe Scarborough, said: “We’re O.K. The country’s not.”
In a pair of tweets on Thursday, the president described Ms. Brzezinski as “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and claimed that she had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a social gathering at Mr. Trump’s resort in Florida around New Year’s Eve.
His claim that Ms. Brzezinski was bleeding from a face-lift was “a lie,” they wrote, adding: “Mr. Trump claims that we asked to join him at Mar-a-Lago three nights in a row. That is false. He also claimed that he refused to see us. That is laughable.” They wrote: “And though it is no one’s business, the president’s petulant personal attack against yet another woman’s looks compels us to report that Mika has never had a face-lift. If she had, it would be evident to anyone watching ‘Morning Joe’ on their high-definition TV.” Ms. Brzezinski did have a “little skin under her chin tweaked,” but it was not a secret, they wrote. The co-hosts were scheduled to be on vacation on Friday but delayed their plans to appear on the show to respond to the president’s tweets. Until recently, the president had a friendly relationship with the hosts, who were criticized during the campaign for their closeness to the candidate.
In recent months, however, the pair have excoriated Mr. Trump on the air, denouncing his behavior and questioning his mental health — criticisms the president views as a personal betrayal, according to a senior administration official.
Last month, Ms. Brzezinski and Mr. Scarborough told Vanity Fair that the president had offered to officiate at their wedding and host it at the White House or Mar-a-Lago. (Ms. Brzezinski said her answer to that was, “If it weren’t Trump, it might be something to think about.”) Mr. Trump’s invective threatened to further erode his support among Republican women and independents, both among voters and on Capitol Hill, where he needs negotiating leverage for the stalled Senate health care bill.
The tweets ended five months of relative silence from the president on the volatile subject of gender, reintroducing a political vulnerability: his history of demeaning women for their age, appearance and mental capacity.
A spokeswoman for the president, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on Thursday urged the news media to move on. She argued during the White House briefing that Mr. Trump was “fighting fire with fire” by attacking a longtime critic.