US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has again ridiculed the intelligence, looks and temperament of a female television host in a vulgar Twitter attack, triggering a storm of protest from Republicans and Democrats alike.
In a Thursday morning tirade, the president went after hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who have criticised him on their US TV show Morning Joe.
“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 facelift. I said no!” the US leader tweeted.
The president, who has a running feud with Ms Brzezinski and Mr Scarborough, tweeted out just minutes after their morning show went off the air at 9am Thursday (11pm Thursday AEST).
It’s not clear what specifically triggered Mr Trump’s vulgar attack, but topics discussed during Thursday’s show included the rancour that exists on Twitter and Mr Trump’s tweeting habits.
Mr Trump may also have been responding to Mr Scarborough’s comments to Vanity Fair in May.
In that interview, Mr Scarborough announced his engagement to Ms Brzezinksi and said that the president offered to marry them at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Minutes after Mr Trump’s crude broadside, Ms Brzezinski responded on Twitter by posting a photograph of a Cheerios cereal box that included the phrase “made for little hands.”
Critics looking to get under the president’s skin have long suggested that his hands appear smaller than usual for his frame.
However, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Mr Trump during an appearance on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom.
She said there have been “an outrageous number of personal attacks” on Mr Trump and his staff members by Morning Joe.
“I don’t think that the president’s ever been someone who gets attack and doesn’t push back. There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him, but to frankly everyone around him,” she told host Bill Hemmer.
“This is a president who fights fire with fire. And certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by a liberal media and the liberal elites within the media or Hollywood or anywhere else,” she added.
Commenting on Mr Trump’s use of Twitter, Morning Joe host Ms Brzezinski said: “What I think Twitter has done is really revealed the true nature of this man who is the president of the United States. It has shown the kind of, the dark underbelly of this presidency. Thanks to Twitter, we know.”
Her co-host and fiance Mr Scarborough said: “I think if you go on Twitter, and you go on Twitter angry, I don’t think the market reveals character, I think it twists and distorts character. Because you’ve got to put it in 140 characters. There’s no room for nuance. And I think it brings out, many times, just the absolute worst in people.”
NBC News spokeswoman Lorie Acio said in a statement: “It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.”
Mr Trump’s campaign was threatened last October after the release of a 2005 Access Hollywood video in which he was heard bragging about groping women, saying “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Trump apologises for ‘p***y’ tape
Mr Trump also repeatedly suggested that Hillary Clinton didn’t have the stamina or “look” to be president, mocked primary foe Carly Fiorina by saying “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”
He also falsely suggested that former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado, whom he publicly shamed for gaining weight when he owned the contest, had made a sex tape.
In 2015, he said then-Fox News Host Megyn Kelly was unfairly targeting him, saying “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”
First lady Melania Trump said she would fight against cyberbullying while her husband was in office. She has so far remained silent on her hubby’s latest tweet.