— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 30, 2017
As expected, the Morning Joe co-hosts responded on Friday to the “not well” nature of a president who attacks women’s looks on Twitter. However, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski also used the occasion to reveal an even more chilling story, in which they accused Trump of attempting to blackmail them with a National Enquirer smear piece if they didn’t shut down their negative Trump coverage. This has set off an amazing chain of events with a real kicker, so let’s get started. Here’s what Scarborough said this morning:
“The president is friends with the guy that runs that National Enquirer. And they said, ‘If you call the president up, and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike this story.’ I had, I will just say, three people at the very top of the administration calling me, and the response was like, are you kidding me? I don’t know what they have, run a story.”
Brzezinski added that the threat was real because the National Enquirer phoned her friends and teenage children to try and unearth some dirt. Also — according to Scarborough — the tabloid’s reporters staked out Mika’s house.
If these allegations are true, this would be a natural progression for how Trump uses his connections — he is great pals with David Pecker, the CEO of the tabloid’s publisher, American Media, Inc. — to plant stories in the rag. He not only apparently did so against all of his election rivals (while the publication strenuously endorsed him), but Trump is also petty enough to plant National Enquirer stories against women who refuse to date him. With all of that said, is it possible (yes, it is) that Trump would be clumsy enough to try and blackmail journalists with the threat of a smear story as well?
Scarborough and Brzezinski aren’t joking about these accusations. They even co-penned a Washington Post op-ed that puts their allegations in print:
“The president’s unhealthy obsession with our show has been in the public record for months, and we are seldom surprised by his posting nasty tweets about us. During the campaign, the Republican nominee called Mika “neurotic” and promised to attack us personally after the campaign ended. This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas.”
The co-hosts also expressed the desire that Trump would simply stick to watching Fox and Friends rather than launching daily attacks on the media because he doesn’t like what they’re reporting. Wellll, this morning on Twitter, Trump fired off a more stunning tweet than usual (for real). He not only pretended to tune into Morning Joe for the first time in ages but also admitted to possessing editorial control over the tabloid: “Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show.”