AP

At 8:50 a.m. yesterday, the President of the United States confronted a day of tense and definitional decisions. His health-care plan faced life-or-death negotiations with nervous Republicans.

  • Within hours, he'd host his first meeting with the leader of a nation at urgent risk of decimation by North Korea, which is flirting with nuclear war. He was about to give a speech designed as the centerpiece of a week dedicated to national energy policy. The trade war we just mentioned was brewing.
  • But as the president watched TV, one topic consumed his mind and mood: two talk-show hosts who had insulted his psychological stability. Their average audience is just over 1 million — .3% of the nation's population.
  • He banged out those infamous 53 words.

"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!"

The tweets would suck up the day's public conversation, pushing aside any of his White House's planned messages. They'd provoke numerous Republicans to rebuke him, and force even some of his closest advisers to admit he wasn't acting presidential.

  • Sound smart: Reread the first paragraph.
  • Sound dumb: Defend the tweet.

P.S. AP's Barbara Ortutay: "If President Donald Trump were anyone else, he'd be fired, or at least reprimanded, for his latest tweets attacking a female TV host, social media and workplace experts say."

N.Y. Times Quotation of the Day ... Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, in response to Trump's tweet: "People may say things during a campaign, but it's different when you become a public servant. I don't see it as undermining his ability to negotiate legislation, necessarily, but I see it as embarrassing to our country."

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