On Friday, one day after Trump lashed out at “Psycho Joe” and “low-I.Q. Crazy Mika” and claimed Brzezinski “was bleeding badly from a face-lift,” the show averaged 1.66 million viewers, nearly 70 percent more than its usual audience of just under 1 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings released Wednesday. It was the number one cable news program that morning, beating Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” which usually claims the top spot.
Even after widespread criticism from lawmakers of both parties, Trump continued his feud with the “Morning Joe” hosts over several days. Scarborough and Brzezinski, who announced their engagement earlier this year, on Friday alleged that Trump tried to blackmail them with the threat that a negative tabloid story about their relationship would be published. Trump denied their claim in a subsequent tweet, which Scarborough said was “yet another lie.”
The pair was friendly toward Trump during his presidential campaign, and the president even offered to officiate their wedding. But they have been increasingly critical toward him, which likely set off Trump’s Twitter tirade. Trump has continually waged a war against the media and regularly rails against critical coverage, often labeling it as “fake news.”
The high ratings for “Morning Joe” caps off a successful period for left-leaning MSNBC. In May, its prime time weekday ratings among the viewers most prized by advertisers ― those ages 25 to 54 ― beat the figures for Fox and CNN for the first time in almost 17 years.