TOPEKA — Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins called President Donald Trump’s latest Twitter attack against MSNBC “Morning Joe” anchor Mika Brzezinksi “unacceptable” Thursday, saying she, too, has been criticized for her looks as a woman in politics and that people should demand better from elected officials.
The five-term congresswoman, who represents a large part of eastern Kansas, said she thought Trump was “capable of doing some really good things for the American people,” but she hoped he could focus on legislation being worked on in Congress.
“We would just appreciate if the president could focus with us on doing some really good things for the American people and leave comments like that to himself,” Jenkins said in an interview Thursday afternoon with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
She praised the Trump administration’s effort to roll back regulations and interest in tax reform.
The interview came after Jenkins quickly denounced Trump’s attack on Brzezinksi on Thursday morning on Twitter.
Trump tweeted he heard “Morning Joe” co-hosts Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough had criticized him. He then accused “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and “Psycho Joe” of coming to his Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, and insisting on joining him. Trump tweeted Brzezinski was bleeding from a facelift and that he said no.
Jenkins’ fellow northeast Kansas Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder, who represents suburban Kansas City, called for “civility” in a tweet later Thursday morning.
Andrea Ramsey, a Democratic candidate for Yoder’s seat, fired back with a tweet that said “talk is cheap” and that “Kansans deserve better.”
Though Jenkins criticized Trump’s latest tweets, she did not revoke her endorsement of then-candidate Trump last fall amid allegations he sexually assaulted women. She also voted with Republicans who blocked an effort to reveal Trump’s tax returns. But she expressed concern this spring over Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey. She told a crowd in Lawrence in March the president’s revised travel ban affecting six predominantly Muslim countries was a step in the right direction. According to the Kansas City Star, she had concerns over the breadth of the ban.
The Twitter attack is the latest in a tense relationship between Trump and co-hosts Brzezinski and Scarborough, who are engaged. The co-hosts have repeatedly criticized the Trump administration and aide Kellyanne Conway. Trump previously has attacked the co-hosts and show on Twitter.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s attacks Thursday morning, telling Fox News that Brzezinski and Scarborough have attacked Trump personally.
“I’ve seen far worse things come out of that show, again, directed not just at the president but everyone around him,” she said.
Trump repeatedly has insulted women, both as a candidate and as president. While he was running for office, several women accused him of sexual assault. According to reports, he called former Miss Universe Alicia Machado names for gaining weight. And a leaked Access Hollywood tape revealed he bragged about sexually assaulting women and said he could do anything because he was a star.
Brzezinski quickly responded to Trump’s tweet with a photo of a Cheerios box ad targeted at children that says, “Made for little hands,” a reference to previous insults Trump received about the size of his hands.
Scarborough didn’t immediately write a tweet in response, but he retweeted a comment sent by Mark Kornblau, NBCUniversal News Group’s senior vice president of communications, after Trump targeted Brzezinski.