Goodman: Trump tweets on ‘bleeding’ ‘Crazy Mika’. Can the president please act like one?

Joe Scarborough, right, and Mika Brzezinski host MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” at NBC Studios in New York on April 14, 2010. (Michael Nagle/The New York Times)

It was just two weeks ago that a shooter with a rifle wounded a Republican congressmen on a baseball field, and pleas went out, from Republicans, Democrats and everyone else, to tamp down the hateful rhetoric.

Today, we have the president of the United States lashing out at a TV news team with undisguised rage, unmistakable sexism and intolerable vitriol.

On Twitter, President Donald Trump lit into Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough (“Psycho Joe”) and Mika Brzezinski (“low I.Q. Crazy Mika”), suggesting that he had seen the latter at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

Thankfully, the backlash has been swift, the tweets being roundly denounced by Republicans as well as Democrats. The glaring exception: the White House itself. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, seemingly deaf to the ugliness of the president’s words, said, “This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media, and the liberal elites within the media.”

The June 14 shooting at an Alexandria, Va., park, which severely wounded U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., elicited soul-searching prayers for more civility and unity in our increasingly fractious politics. Even Trump weighed in, after visiting Scalise in the hospital:

“Steve, in his own way, may have brought some unity to our long-divided country,” Trump said in the Roosevelt Room. “We’ve had a very, very divided country for many years, and I have a feeling that Steve has made a great sacrifice, but there could be some unity being brought to our country.” (CNN.com)

Today, we’re hearing much the same thing, but the catalyst isn’t some anonymous, disgruntled Midwesterner with a load of liberal resentments. It’s the leader of the free world. From earlier today:

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican whose vote is considered critical to the success of Mr. Trump’s health care plan, wrote on Twitter, “This has to stop.” She said, “We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, also a Republican, wrote on Twitter, “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.” (New York Times)

We are accustomed to thinking that the occupant of the White House represents the highest standard of respectful discourse, if not always behavior.

It is jarring to realize that it is the rest of us who must school this president on how to act like a president.