Few things leave the nation with bated breath quite like watching what will happen next on the Trump Twitter account.
And Thursday was just as good a day as any.
Things started off tame enough, with a tweet about a new sugar deal negotiated with Mexico.
New Sugar deal negotiated with Mexico is a very good one for both Mexico and the U.S. Had no deal for many years which hurt U.S. badly.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
OK it did get a few cheeky responses, like this one from @selizabethdaly who wondered, “But...but...how will you get it over the wall?”
But...but...how will you get it over the wall?— Sarah-Elizabeth Daly (@selizabethdaly) June 29, 2017
But nothing — except for perhaps reading past Trump tweets — could have prepared the Twitterverse for the tweetstorm the commander in chief was about to unload on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski.
Trump went after Brzezinski’s face, literally, in a series of tweets just before 9 a.m.
"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 said.
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..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
...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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
It was an attack that apparently went too far even for some members of the Republican party.
“Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” Speaker of the Paul Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine, whose vote is considered critical in the passage of Trump’s healthcare bill, chose the president’s preferred medium to respond.
“This has to stop.” She said, “We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility,” she wrote on Twitter.
This has to stop – we all have a job – 3 branches of gov’t and media. We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 29, 2017
And then came the daily White House press briefing. Unlike many that have been held off camera lately, the public had the pleasure of watching Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stand in as Trump’s human shield as she tried to defend the Trump Twitter tirade against Brzezinski.
Huckabee Sanders disagreed with bipartisan condemnation of the attack, saying Trump did not go too far in response to a reporter’s question.
“The president has been attacked mercilessly on personal accounts by members on that program. And I think he’s been very clear that, when he gets attacked, he’s going to hit back. I think the American people elected somebody who’s tough, who is smart, and who is a fighter.
That’s Donald Trump. And I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire,” she said.
Huckabee Sanders blamed the “liberal media” for Trump’s short fuse and told reporters the attack wasn’t on Brzezinski as a woman or on her appearance, but on the constant attacks by “Morning Joe” and other media on Trump’s character.
“Utterly stupid,” “personality disorder,” “mentally ill" and calling members of Trump’s team “liars” to their faces,” Huckabee Sanders ticked off.
But this isn’t the first time Trump has publicly attacked a female journalist.
He faced backlash when he told former Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly she “had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” after she asked some tough questions of then-candidate Trump during a presidential debate.
On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly singled out NBC reporter Katy Tur in front of his rallies, accusing her of failing to report on their size.
Huckabee Sanders dodged a question in which a reporter asked if she pointed to President Trump as a role model for her children.
“As a person of faith, we all have one perfect role model. And when I’ve asked that question I point to God,” she said.
As of 5 p.m. Trump had tweeted three other times on Thursday, but nothing quite as inflammatory as remarks for Brzezinski.