Hours after President Trump attacked MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski in several tweets on Thursday morning, First Lady Melania Trump publicly defended the president in a statement to CNN. "As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder," her communications director Stephanie Grisham said.
In his tweets on Thursday, Trump noted that he had been spoken of "badly" on the show, then went on to criticize the shows hosts, Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough:
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!
Trump has received criticism for what appears to be another attack on a female member of the media. Prior to this, another prominent media personality to have been on the receiving end of Trump's ire was former Fox News host Megyn Kelly. In a statement to CNN, Trump mockingly described Kelly had "blood coming out of her wherever."
MSNBC has since responded to Trump's tweets and said, "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."
But Trump's defenders — including Melania and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — have stood by his side. In a statement to Fox News, Sanders defended Trump's tweets and said, "This is a president who fights fire with fire."
Trump has been frequently criticized for his tweets, which are often seen to be a form of bullying on social media. Critics have cautioned against such use of Twitter and said that such language may embolden abusive behavior in others.
Melania herself has been vocal about bullying, specifically online. During the campaign trail, she designated cyberbullying as one of her central focuses. Back in 2016, Melania addressed a rally of supporters in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, and said, "We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other."
She also stated:
We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media. It will be one of the main focuses of my work if I'm privileged enough to become your first lady.