Trump Russia Congress

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., File/Carolyn Kaster/AP

In a tweet directly addressed to the president, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called Donald Trump's crude tweet Thursday morning unpresidential.

"Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America," the Republican from South Carolina tweeted at 10:15 a.m. 

One minute later, another GOP senator condemned the president's digital actions and begged him to stop.

"Please just stop," tweeted U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. "This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office."

Graham's fiery response came less than two hours after Trump sent a series of crude tweets about Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of the MSNBC show "Morning Joe."

The tweet war went on to dominate part of Thursday's news cycle.

In two installments, Trump called Scarborough "Psycho Joe" and Brzezinski "Low I.Q. Crazy Mika." Trump then went on to accuse Brzezinski of "bleeding badly from a face-lift." 

Graham did not specify which tweet he took issue with, but South Carolina's other Republican senator took a different stance on the matter.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott instead urged fellow Republicans to focus their legislative agenda in Washington.

"The American people need us to be focused on health care and tax reform, not Twitter fights and cable news," Scott tweeted.

House Speaker Paul Ryan agreed there is a need to focus on getting bills passed, but Ryan also said he saw Trump's tweet as something that could make doing that job more difficult.

"Obviously, I don't see that as an appropriate comment," Ryan said during a press conference Thursday. "What we're trying to do around here is improve the tone and the civility of the debate, and this obviously doesn't help do that."

South Carolina Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, who has said in the past that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric does not help the cause of civility in political discourse, seemed to be making that same argument again on Thursday in a tweet.

"Civility is indeed needed now more than ever. And Charleston is proof that it does (and) can exist," he said.

Another member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., also evoked the example of Charleston in a tweet directed toward Trump.

She recalled this week marked the two-year anniversary of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney's funeral, when then-President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy wherein he famously sang a few bars of "Amazing Grace."

"Two years ago this week, President Obama sang 'Amazing Grace.' Today, we have a president who's amazingly graceless. These tweets are vile," she said.

In a statement Thursday morning, MSNBC defended its journalists and called it "a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job."

The tweet was one in a line of tweets and utterances Trump has hit when talking about women.

During Trump's presidential campaign, an 11-year-old recording surfaced of his conversation with then-host of "Access Hollywood" Billy Bush about grabbing women. Trump dismissed the tape as "locker room talk."

Trump also had a very public feud with then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly during his run for office. In a CNN interview following the Aug. 6, 2015, Fox News GOP presidential debate, Trump said Kelly had "blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever." In March 2016, Trump called Kelly "crazy" in eight different tweets. 

Days before her husband was elected to the highest office in the land, Melania Trump said she would work to combat online bullying and harassment because "our culture has gotten too mean and too rough."

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.