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      Trump unleashes Twitter attack on Morning Joe hosts

      Trump unleashes Twitter attack on Morning Joe hosts Trump unleashes Twitter attack on Morning Joe hosts Trump unleashes Twitter attack on Morning Joe hosts
      Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA

      2016 Us Election

      Trump unleashes Twitter attack on Morning Joe hosts

      By Olivia Becker

      Just six months ago, Donald Trump's favorite cable news talk show was MSNBC's Morning Joe. He was a frequent guest early in the primary season, treated to soft-ball interviews and counted the hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski as friends.

      But in recent months, the Morning Joe hosts have distanced themselves from the Republican nominee in response to his increasingly controversial statements. Finally on Monday, their formally sunny relationship descended into a full-on Twitter feud.

      Trump took to his favorite medium to launch some unusually personal attacks on Morning Joe, which he called "unwatchable," and "low-rated." He also called Brzezinski "off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess!" and insinuated that the two hosts were having an affair.

      It's not exactly clear what set of Trump's latest Twitter meltdown but it came after an earlier segment on the show that morning where the hosts made fun of one of Trump's recent speeches. Brzezinski teased that it looked like he "had a lot to drink," and criticized his speech for being more impolite than usual.

      Shortly after Trump's outburst, Scarborough shot back against him on Twitter.

      This wasn't the beginning of Trump's feud with Morning Joe. Earlier this month, Scarborough wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post urging the GOP to drop Trump from their ticket, after Trump's comments urging "Second Amendment people" to "do something" about Hillary Clinton.

      The animosity between Morning Joe and the Republican nominee is a surprising turn from just six months ago. In addition to giving Trump free, friendly publicity, Scarborough, who is a former Republican congressmen, also boasted that he gave Trump free advice after the debates last fall. In February, Trump thanked the show's hosts for being so nice to him.

      Related: Trump's first general election ad uses Syrians and Mexicans as scare-props

      Things got so cozy between Scarborough and Trump that their relationship was a source of anxiety for fellow employees and executives at NBC. According to CNN, fellow MSNBC staffers thought Scarborough's closeness with Trump was "over the top" and "unseemly."

      Of course, Trump's Monday morning Twitter outburst directed at critical members of media is not new behavior. A Bloomberg Politics analysis of Trump's tweets shows he has dedicated a lot of energy to the media this past year, much of it negative. Of the 5,000 tweets Trump sent over the past year, 1,000 of them have been about the media, 256 of which have been critical. In contrast, he sent only 140 tweets attacking Clinton.

      Trump's relationship with Morning Joe might be effectively severed, but he still has plenty of other sympathetic figures in the media to turn to for advice. Sean Hannity has been an unabashed supporter of Trump on his popular conservative talk show on Fox News and he is now advising Trump on messaging strategies behind the scenes, per the New York Times.

      Related: Donald Trump might be rich — but his campaign isn't

      Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News who was recently ousted amid a sexual harassment scandal, is also reportedly giving advice directly to Trump.

      Then there is Steve Bannon, the head of the right-wing website Breitbart who Trump appointed as his campaign's CEO last week. Before this year, Breitbart was pretty much only known among far-right circles online but has risen to prominence for being the most consistent mouthpiece supporting Trump throughout his campaign.

      All of this help from powerful conservative media figures has led to some speculation that Trump is laying the groundwork to launch his own media outlet after the election is over. The Trump campaign has not said anything about that specifically — only that the Republican candidate was intent on focusing on "substance" in the remaining months of the election.

      Follow Olivia Becker: @oliviaLbecker

      Topics: 2016 us election, donald trump, morning joe, mika brzezinski, joe scarborough, twitter, politics

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