Hours after President Trump posted a pair of ugly tweets attacking cable TV hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, cable news talk shows across the political spectrum featured lengthy, often angry monologues accusing him of demeaning his office as well as women.
Conservatives CharlesÂ Krauthammer and Tucker Carlson criticized the tweets on Fox News, with Krauthammer saying âPresidents donât talk like this.â
On CNN, Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper dedicated their opening remarks to what Lemon called TrumpâsÂ âflat out gross and disgustingâ tweets.
And on a CNN panel Thursday night, USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers got into a lively debate over the definitions of âfeminismâ and âmisogynyâ with Trump surrogate Jeffrey Lord.
But even Lord, who usually defends anything and everything Trump does, said, âI donât think he should have done it.â
Few were as impassioned as Nicolle Wallace, a former communications director for President George W. Bush. OnÂ her MSNBC show Thursday afternoon, Wallace delivered a scorched-earth monologue.
âAs someone who once proudly called myself a Republican, the party will be permanently associated with misogyny if leaders donât stand up and demand a retraction,â Wallace said, challenging women in the Trump administration to publicly denounce their bossâs words and âwork behind the scenes to educate him about just how offensive they are.â
Wallace singled outÂ Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
âMost importantly,â Wallace continued, âas the mother of a son, I ask any woman whoâs defending these comments how they plan to raise good men if the most powerful man in the world gets away with this.â
Other conservative hosts shared in her exasperation.
At the beginning of an interview with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, Fox News anchor Julie Banderas said she would âlove to start this segment out about health care, the travel banâ or the controversial off-camera White House press briefings, âbut instead I have to start with the presidentâs tweets.â
McDaniel defended the presidentâs instinct to fight back against criticisms doled out by Scarborough andÂ Brzezinski, but Banderas pushed back, saying Trump didnât âneed to stoop to that level.â
âI donât care who you are. You donât stoop to the level of that,â Banderas said. âI mean thatâs like me scolding my 4-year-old for using a bad word and then me repeating it. Thatâs just not how you run a country or you parent a 4-year-old.â
Krauthammer, the dean of conservative newspaper columnists and frequent Trump critic, said during a panel with Fox Newsâs Bret Baier that Trump was behaving like authoritarian leaders.
âPresidents donât talk like this. They never have,â Krauthammer said. âThis is what it sounds like when youâre living in a banana republic. This is how Hugo ChÃ¡vez would talk about his opponents. This is how the worst dictator, Duterte in the Philippines, would talk about opponents.â
Conservative Charles Krauthammer On Trump’s Tweets: This Is What It Sounds Like When You’re Living In A Banana Republic. pic.twitter.com/76JswTrcas
â Lauren Werner (@LaurenWern) June 30, 2017
Fox News contributor Mercedes Schlapp pushed back, saying she didnât support the tweets but understood Trumpâs desire to defend himself. She also took issue with Krauthammerâs comparison to dictators, saying Trump was not âsending military guards to go shut downâ the press.
âWhen you defend the president of the United States by pointing out that he hasnât sent the tanks out in the streets to shut down the media, youâve reached a fairly low level of defense,â Krauthammer countered.
On various shows across networks, commentators noted that while President Barack Obama faced harsh and often unfair criticism, he didnât launch personal attacks in response.
âPeople used to call him a Muslim. People used to call him underqualified, a sellout to America, a hater of Israel,â Banderas said on Fox News. âI mean they called him every name in the book, but you didnât see him lash out.â
âCNN Tonightâ host Don Lemon began his segment Thursday night by asking his producers to kill his intro music.
âI have to say something before we start,â he said. âI have heard and said the phrase âthis is not normalâ so many times that Iâm sick of hearing it and Iâm sick of saying it.â
Lemon called Trumpâs tweets âflat out gross and disgusting.â
âSaying it was juvenile would be insulting to children,â Lemon said. âIf your children said or did what he tweeted, you would discipline them. Any employee would face some very serious consequences. And for anyone out there, any of you attempting to defend what he did, youâre an enabler.â
Lemon cut to a clip of Thursdayâs White House press briefing with deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said that outrage over Trumpâs retaliatory insults was hypocritical. She added that it was like âweâre living in the âTwilight Zone.ââ
âYes, it is like living in the âTwilight Zone,ââ Lemon retorted. âThe president should be ashamed of himself. But heâs not. He apparently thinks he is proving what a tough guy he is. But heâs actually embarrassing himself, his party and America.â
On the same network, CNN host Anderson Cooper, who has come under fire from some for using sharp language and at times crude references to critique the president, also referenced Huckabee Sandersâs âTwilight Zoneâ quote in his opening monologue.
âSomewhere in the âTwilight Zone,â a teeny tiny violin is playing the worldâs saddest song for the most powerful man on earth,â Cooper said. âOther than that, few are shedding any tears for the presidentâs plight.â
Cooper said Trump was âmany things, but tough is not one of them.â
âTough is fighting for the health care reforms that he actually campaigned on,â Cooper said. âTough is rising above insults and actually leading. What our president does is not a display of toughness. Itâs a display of weakness of character, of thinness of skin.â
He also took considerable time to point out apparent contradictions between the words and actions of the Trump family. Ivanka Trump, he said, had made elevating women a central tenet of her business and political platform, yet had said nothing to condemn her fatherâs remarks. Melania Trump promised to focus on cyberbullying as first lady, but Cooper pointed out, has yet to launch any such initiative.
Cooper opened his show by reading his audience a âpassage from a book full of advice on how a president ought to behave.â
ââThe president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. The president is the spokesman for democracy and liberty. Isnât it time we brought back the pomp and circumstance and the sense of awe for that office that we all held?ââ
ââThe writer went on to say, âThat means everyone in the administration should look and act professionally, especially the president.ââ Cooper read. âThe writer concludes, âImpressions matter.ââ
That quote was from a 2015 book called âCrippled America,â Cooper said. The author was Donald Trump.
âItâs easy at this point to just shrug and say, âThis is what our president does, itâs who he is.ââ Cooper said. âMaybe to some this even seems normal. But itâs not normal. This is the most powerful man on the face of the entire planet.â
Cooperâs frustration was amplified later during a panel debate on his show, when the anchor interrupted his guests to ask: âWhat about the friggin dignity of the presidential office?â
âGeorge W. Bush insisted people wear a tie in the Oval Office and now that seems like a laughable notion,â Cooper continued. âLike, why should any kid look up to the president of the United States now?â
Lord, the Trump surrogate and a panelist, agreed, but took issue with the notion that the presidentâs bleeding facelift insult was sexist. Lord argued to fellow-panelists Powers and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman that Trump doles out equally offensive attacks to his adversaries, regardless of their gender.
âI believe in equality of the sexes,â Lord said.
The panelists countered Lordâs argument, explaining that Trump has a history of disproportionately attacking women on their physical appearance. But Lord said he doesnât see her âas a womanâ but âas an equal, as a talk show host.â
âIt has nothing to do with equality,â Powers said.Â âEquality would be not talking to the woman that way.â
And although grandstanding about misogyny was not an element of Tucker Carlsonâs opening monologue Thursday night, the Fox News host did offer his own critique of the presidentâs ill-advised tweets after mocking what he characterized as a dramatic overreaction from liberals.
Carlson called them âstupid and counterproductiveâ with âno policy objective.â The tweet âbrought joy to the left while embarrassing the presidentâs supporters.â
âThatâs the real tragedy of todayâs tweets,â Carlson said. âThey were a diversion.â
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