US President Donald Trump has attracted criticism from within his own party for a Twitter tirade against female journalist Mika Brzezinski. Republicans said the comments were "beneath the office" of president.
Trump unleashed his attack on Thursday, apparently in response to comments by television host Mika Brzezinski on the left-leaning network MSNBC.
Ironically, it came after Brzezinski had attacked Trump for his "bullying" Twitter tirades.
During the "Morning Joe" show, Brzezinski said that if an executive at NBC, MSNBC's parent company, "started tweeting wildly about people's appearances, bullying people… that person would be thrown out. There would be concerns that the person who runs the company is out of his mind."
Trump's response was aimed at both Mika Brzezinski and her co-host Joe Scarborough. Trump hurled a rapid-fire series of insults in just one Tweet, accusing Brzezinski of having a "low IQ," being "crazy" and "bleeding badly from a face-lift" while on a visit to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort. Trump called Scarborough a "psycho."
Many senior Republicans sought to distance themselves from the tweets.
"Obviously I don't see that as an appropriate comment," said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.
"The president's tweets today don't help our political or national discourse and do not provide a positive role model for our national dialogue," said Republican Senator James Lankford.
'Please just stop'
One of Trump's more frequent Republican critics, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, urged the president to restrain himself. "Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office."
Longtime Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the tweets were "beneath the office" of president and that they represent "what is wrong with American politics."
There were also responses on Twitter, including one from Jeb Bush, Trump's rival for the White House nomination last year.
However, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president, saying he was "pushing back against people who have attacked him day after day after day. Where is the outrage on that?"
Brzezinski and Scarborough, who are engaged, have known Trump for years and interviewed him several times during his presidential campaign. They have, however, been highly critical of Trump since he took office.
In addition to his attacks on the mainstream media, Trump has singled out individual journalists before, including a notorious invective against former Fox News and current NBC journalist Megyn Kelly.The president has also made numerous statements about women that have been widely criticized as inappropriate, misogynist, sexist, and offensive to women.