Congress responds as Trump’s attack on TV co-host distracts from health care, other business

As the U.S. Senate looked to a day of negotiating on health care legislation Thursday, President Donald Trump at 8:52 a.m. began unleashing tweets attacking the IQ, mental stability and physical appearance of MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski. 

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president’s behavior in a Thursday afternoon press briefing, saying “the American people elected a fighter,” and that’s what they got. 

But Republicans and Democrats criticized the president for his tweets — shocking even for Mr. Trump’s Twitter account — as the Senate struggles to propose a passable bill on health care. Mr. Trump met Wednesday with senators earlier this week as he attempts to negotiate the bill, and Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday met one-on-one with senators on Capitol Hill. 

The tweets also detracted from the White House’s designated policy focus of the week — energy — and two bills expected to pass in the House Thursday to crack down on immigrants who commit crimes and attempt to re-enter the country illegally, and on “sanctuary cities” refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Mr. Trump made stricter stances on immigration — a theme drowned out by his tweets Thursday — a central message of his campaign. 

Both Republicans and Democrats criticized the president Thursday. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” last month that the president is “his own worst enemy” with counterproductive tweets, said Mr. Trump behaved “beneath the office.”

Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Mr. Trump to, “Stop it!”

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