On Thursday, President Trump took to Twitter (his official mode of communication) to issue a pair of tweets that intentionally demeaned MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. The tweets labeled Scarborough “a psycho” and claimed that Brzezinski had a “low IQ,” and was “bleeding from a facelift” when the trio met at his Mar-a-Lago estate around New Year’s Eve. The source of his ire? A jab the pair made at the fake Time magazine covers that are displayed on the walls of his namesake golf courses.
The hateful epithets awoke the nation, with Republicans, Democrats, women and men all chiming in to denounce the tweets. This morning Brzezinski and Scarborough published their own reaction in The Washington Post, and appeared for a 30-minute segment on their show even though they were supposed to be away on vacation. Following the taping, InStyle hopped on the phone with Brzezinski to talk about how young women should ignore the noise and why the First Lady, supposed campaigner of cyberbullying, has her work cut out for herself.
InStyle: What a crazy 24 hours. How are you doing?
Mika Brzezinski: Well, I’m fine, absolutely fine.
Thank you for the way that you’ve handled this unfortunate situation. It’s great that you can come out and say that you’re fine and deflect because honestly at this point, what else can we do?
I know. This is a sign of a much bigger problem for our country than anything about me. In our own way, we could reveal what he is, and I think it is a disturbing reality.
How do you explain something like this to young women, like your daughters, who might be confused by what’s happening?
My daughters are adults, they’re 19 and 21. I think that they’re forming their own opinions. I say the same thing [to them that] I say on the show: I think he’s got a real problem with women, and that this presidency is a setback. Women in the administration need to step up and tell him that they will not stand for the way he is treating women. I think that also applies to men in the administration.
It’s interesting to see who did step up yesterday. Even South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was tweeting about how this is beneath the office of the White House. These are people who have been supporters. Do you think there’s a tide turning?
I think weirdly this is a tipping point. It shows that we have a leader of the free world who is unhinged. You can’t have someone who is so easily played in such an important and dignified position. He is certainly humiliating the office of the presidency in the eyes of many Americans, and most certainly in the eyes of the world.
On the show, you mentioned how you know Melania Trump. Her campaign as the First Lady surrounds cyber bullying…
I know Melania. I haven’t talked to her in months, but if my gut is right, I don’t think she’s going to put up with it much longer. I know nothing. That’s just my instinct and I go with my gut and my gut’s always right. I’m just telling you, Melania’s got the worst job in the country and I don’t think she wants do it a lot longer. I think she will do it for as long as she has to for her son, and that’s it.
What do you think about someone like Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defending this behavior?
I’m ashamed for her. I feel sorry for her and I’m ashamed for her.
Tell us about the support you’ve gotten since this all happened.
I really appreciate it. I’m fine, I don’t feel hurt by this. I feel concerned for our country, concerned about the stability of our president. You know, my father just died. My mother has been ill. My daughter lost a good friend recently-I have had a lot of change in my family. I’m worried about my girls. I’m worried about my family. I miss my dad. I have no bandwidth to even slightly be concerned about a tweet from Donald Trump. This is not an issue personally for me.
You’ve handled this incredibly graciously. What is your advice for young women?
It shouldn’t bother you. This is a tough world and tweets should be at the bottom of the list. I think if you have strong bonds in your life and your priorities in place—and that’s hard to do in this very distracting world—things like this don’t matter. They’ll roll off. You must look at the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is the future of our country and the health of this president, which I think are both in jeopardy.
At times like this it is so easy to play the victim and cry foul and to be deeply insulted. I have no interest in doing that. I don’t think it’s effective. I think this is the time where you hold your head up high and ignore because it’s not worth your time.
Your father was an accomplished diplomat. What do you think he’d be saying if he could witness what’s happened in the last 24 hours?
Well, first, he would not worry about me one bit. He raised a really tough girl. But he would be, and was on his deathbed, very concerned about the strategic alliances that he himself worked decades to build. He would worry very much about the massive unraveling that is happening before our eyes. The president’s behavior in the past 24 hours with his tweets about me are a sign that he’s not serious, he’s not stable, and that we need to urge anybody in office, in power, in the administration, in the Cabinet, on Capitol Hill to speak truth to power, and if your instinct tells you that he’s not fit, to act accordingly. There are things that can be done. Leadership, step up.