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White House defends Trump’s Morning Joe tweets: Trump won’t be “bullied”

“This is a president who fights fire with fire.”

On Fox News’s America’s Newsroom, principal deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended President Trump’s Thursday morning tweets attacking Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, saying that Trump will “fight fire with fire.”

“This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media and the liberal elites within the media Hollywood or anywhere else,” Huckabee Sanders told America’s Newsroom host Bill Hemmer.

On Thursday morning, Trump took to Twitter to personally attack the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Several Republican members of Congress were quick to condemn his actions as “beneath” the office of the president and inappropriate.

Hemmer asked Huckabee Sanders to clarify or explain the tweets, which she attempted to justify by suggesting that Morning Joe had said worse things about the president and his staff:

“I think what's necessary is to push back against unnecessary attacks on the president both personally [sic]. I have seen far worse things come out of that show. Again, directed not just at the president but everyone around him, personal attacks, mean, hateful attacks. And, again, this president is not going to sit back and not push back and fight fire with fire, and that's exactly what he did.”

Read the full transcript of Hemmer’s exchange with Huckabee Sanders below:


HEMMER: There were a few tweets that went out earlier today, and I want you to react to this. Okay. This was a suggestion about, um, some folks at MSNBC on a morning program there. Here's what he said: “I heard poorly rated Morning Joe [referring to Joe Scarborough] speaks badly of me. (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika [meaning Mika Brzezinski, the co-host], with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago around New Year's Eve and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” What is the White House saying about why that went out?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, I don't think that the president's ever been someone who gets attacked and doesn't push back. There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him but to frankly everyone around him. People on that show have personally attacked me many times. This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media and the liberal elites within the media Hollywood or anywhere else.

HEMMER: I get it, but is that necessary?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, I think what's necessary is to push back against unnecessary attacks on the president both personally. ... Uh, I have seen far worse things come out of that show. Again, directed not just at the president but everyone around him, personal attacks, mean, hateful attacks. And, again, this president is not going to sit back and not push back and fight fire with fire, and that's exactly what he did.

HEMMER: I have heard that from you and I have heard that from him, but it seems like it is entirely more personal than it needs to be. And I'm wondering if you want to address that.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think I have addressed that as much as I can in terms of, uh, the president, again, isn't going to be somebody who is bullied and allows people, himself and those around him, to be personally attacked.

HEMMER: He would argue that he is always going to punch back and he’s not fire the first shot and, perhaps, he feels the criticism toward him is unwarranted, but going to this —

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Outrageous attacks that take place on that show, uh, day in, day out, not just at the president, and not against his policies, not against, uh, things that he is pushing but they are personal and not just directed at him but again, everyone around them. I have been called a lot of names on that show that don't have anything to do with my beliefs or ideology or policy, but they are personal attacks.

HEMMER: Is there something we need to know more about this relationship?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Not that I'm aware. I couldn't speak to anything.

HEMMER: There is no backstory that has not become public that would lead him to choose this wording?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I honestly wouldn't — I'm not aware of any extra back story.