Donald Trump Lost This Fight Against 'Morning Joe,' as Ratings Break Records

Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski arrive for the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, D.C., on April 25, 2015. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Donald Trump seems to love to hate on Morning Joe via Twitter. The president's pastime reached a new peak last week, when for several days in a row he tweeted attacks on the MSNBC show as well as its co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. But despite his apparent best efforts to convince himself and others of the show's "low ratings," its viewership shot up on Friday, breaking its own record and exceeding that of the usual top morning cable show, Fox & Friends—which, if his tweets are anything to go by, is the favorite of the president.

Trump's most recent outburst against Morning Joe began on Thursday, when he called its hosts "Psycho Joe" and "low I.Q. Crazy Mika," the latter of whom he claimed "was bleeding badly from a face-lift" while visiting Mar-a-Lago around New Year's Eve.

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..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017 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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017

Those tweets from the president's official account came less than an hour after similar insults in a tweet from the personal account of White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino Jr.

#DumbAsARockMika and lover #JealousJoe are lost, confused & saddened since @POTUS @realDonaldTrump stopped returning their calls! Unhinged.

— Dan Scavino🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) June 29, 2017

Nevertheless, Trump apparently watched the next morning. And so, it turns out, did many others. Nielsen said Wednesday that roughly 1.66 million people tuned in on Friday to see how Scarborough and Brzezinski would react to Trump's comments, nearly doubling its daily average this year of 896,000 viewers and breaking its previous record set the morning after the 2016 presidential election.

It also drew more than 400,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic, compared with 353,000 in that age group and about 1.5 million in total who watched Fox & Friends.

Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017

"Our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal," the Morning Joe co-hosts wrote about Trump in an op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday. "America's leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show.

"The president's unhealthy obsession with our show has been in the public record for months," they wrote. It culminated in a "temper tantrum" on Twitter on Thursday, which contained "a flurry of falsehoods," they said. "We believe it would be better for America and the rest of the world if he would keep his 60-inch-plus flat-screen TV tuned to Fox & Friends."

Trump clearly has beefs with the show, but that hasn't always been the case. Back in 2015, when he announced he would be vying for the Republican presidential nomination, he often tweeted about his appearances on Morning Joe.

Watch my appearance on @Morning_Joe - great interview!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2015

Will be interviewed on @Morning_Joe at 7:3O. Enjoy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2015

Will be interviewed on @Morning_Joe at 7:00 A.M. So much to talk about!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2015

Will be interviewed on @Morning_Joe at 7:20. Great crowd in Las Vegas yesterday!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2015

I will be on @Morning_Joe live from New Hampshire tomorrow at 7am. #Trump2016 #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2015

In those days, he thanked the show a few times, once for "explaining to @CNN and @andersoncooper and so many others that I am leading in almost all national & state polls," another for "throwing the pathetic reporter from the failing and money losing Daily Beast off the air. Really cool!" And once, just for being a "great show."

Thank you @Morning_Joe for explaining to @CNN and @andersoncooper and so many others that I am leading in almost all national & state polls.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2015

Thank you @Morning_Joe for throwing the pathetic reporter from the failing and money losing Daily Beast off the air. Really cool!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2015

Thank you @Morning_Joe & @morningmika -- a great show! #Trump2016 #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2015

He even tweeted about unveiling his first campaign ad during Morning Joe.

I will unveil my first campaign ads on @Morning_Joe at 6:30am tomorrow. Enjoy! #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2015

But the relationship, at least from Trump's side, started turning sour around the edges in December 2015, when he tweeted about how Morning Joe "is so off on Iowa" and "just went off the rails. I will beat Hillary easily—she does not want to run against me. I am tuning them out, waste of time."

.@Morning_Joe is so off on Iowa, which I am leading big in new @CNN poll. I will win Iowa. Also, I beat Hillary easily!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2015

.@Morning_Joe just went off the rails. I will beat Hillary easily - she does not want to run against me. I am tuning them out, waste of time

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2015

Still, both Trump and his wife Melania appeared on the show after those initial sour statements. As of May 2016, though, Trump seemed to be done for good. He's been tweeting about the "low ratings" and insulting the co-hosts in bursts ever since.

I hear @JoeNBC of rapidly fading @Morning_Joe is pushing hard for a third party candidate to run. This will guarantee a Crooked Hillary win.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 6, 2016

Wow, I hear @Morning_Joe has gone really hostile ever since I said I won't do or watch the show anymore.They misrepresent my positions!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2016

I don't watch or do @Morning_Joe anymore. Small audience, low ratings! I hear Mika has gone wild with hate. Joe is Joe. They lost their way!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2016

Nobody is watching @Morning_Joe anymore. Gone off the deep end - bad ratings. You won't believe what I am watching now!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2016

Morning Joe's weakness is its low ratings. I don't watch anymore but I heard he went wild against Rudy Giuliani and #2A - sad & irrelevant!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2016

Tried watching low-rated @Morning_Joe this morning, unwatchable! @morningmika is off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2016

Wonderful @pastormarkburns was attacked viciously and unfairly on @MSNBC by crazy @morningmika on low ratings @Morning_Joe. Apologize!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2016

Just heard that crazy and very dumb @morningmika had a mental breakdown while talking about me on the low ratings @Morning_Joe. Joe a mess!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2016

But no matter how many times or ways Trump has talked about its "low ratings," Morning Joe had its highest viewership ever on Friday. It's hard to say with certainty why that is, but one might theorize that Trump's tweets—far from fulfilling the prophecy he seems to wish on Scarborough and Brzezinski—helped push the show to a new record.