Joe Scarborough says White House officials threatened him with National Enquirer story

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday morning that "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough called him to "stop a National Enquirer" article from being published, but Scarborough has a very different account of the story.

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough are longtime critics of Trump, and the back and forth barbs between the morning hosts and the president reached a new high on Thursday when Trump personally attacked Brzezinski in a tweet slamming the "poorly rated" duo.

Trump again took to Twitter on Friday morning to sound off on Scarborough:

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

In addition to an op-ed with the Washington Post titled, "Donald Trump is not well," Scarborough and Brzezinski appeared on MSNBC with Willie Geist on Friday morning to respond to the president's social media behavior and explain the context in which the commander in chief was operating.

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Pundits, politicians sound off on Trump's 'Mika' tweet
Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.
I do not think making fun of a woman's looks is acceptable. I get it every day of my life. I think that tweet is cruel - and unpresidential
The Insulter-in-Chief sinks to new lows -- and that's saying a lot. SAD and UNPRESIDENTIAL. https://t.co/xJxqseaGLl
Nobody could have foreseen that the 71 year old POTUS who's acted one way his entire life, and during campaign, would act that way as POTUS
Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office.
Here is a list of all the important policy priorities Trump advanced today by attacking Mika Brzezinski's bleeding face-lift:
FLOTUS Spox defends Trump tweet: "As [FLOTUS] stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked he punches back 10 times harder."
Sarah Huckabee Sanders on President's tweet this morning: "This is a President who fights fire with fire"
This is not okay. As a female in politics I am often criticized for my looks. We should be working to empower women. https://t.co/sV6WDE0EUD
Good time to remind you that @MorningMika is smart as hell, stronger than any critic, & a role model for what we hope our daughters can be.
I guess it's coincidence that Trump's attacks on women always involve low intelligence, hysteria and blood.
@Rosie, @megynkelly, @CarlyFiorina, @morningmika, flat-chested women, Alicia Machado...long list of women Trump's attacked. He's disgusting.
MESSAGE DISCIPLINE! Today ALL comms coming out of WH shd be focused on #KatesLaw and #NoSanctuaryforCriminalsAct -- not cable TV hosts.
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@BenSasse Do more than say please. He's not going to stop. He's 71, has the morals and management style of a mob bo… https://t.co/z1QQ9udUeT
.@SenatorLankford: "The President’s tweets today don't help our political or national discourse and do not provide a positive role model"
Paul Ryan on Trump's morning tweets: "Obviously, I don't see that as an appropriate comment." "https://t.co/9MvsyxZPzJ
The irony: @Morning_Joe — already a hot watch in the trump era — will get even bigger after this!
Quick reaction from 2 GOP Hill staffers to Trump attack on Mika: How does this help pass health care when he needs Murkowski and Collins?
Mika's tweet, by the way, has surpassed the president's in twitter popularity. https://t.co/gKbwl19St6
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We are competitors, but Joe and Mika deserve respect. Mister President this attack is beneath the dignity of your o… https://t.co/tDWFiOSg7C
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According to Scarborough, he and Brzezinski began getting calls about a "negative story" the National Enquirer planned to publish.

"We got a call that, 'Hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys...' And they said, 'If you call the president up, and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike this story," Scarborough said to MSNBC on Friday morning.

Trump is publicly known to be friends with David Pecker, who owns the National Enquirer's parent company -- and Scarborough describes conversations in which he was pressed to leverage this relationship to ask Trump to put an end to the publication's story.

Scarborough then noted to MSNBC that there were "three people at the very top of the [Trump] administration" calling him about this story.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer reportedly told the press corps he is "not aware" of White House officials encouraging Scarborough to call Trump regarding this story.

A National Enquirer story on Scarborough and Brzezinski was published on Friday, and the publication soon after released a statement on Scarborough's accusation:

"At the beginning of June we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story. We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions."

See Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of 'Morning Joe' together

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Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of 'Morning Joe' together
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Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of 'Morning Joe' together
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 509 -- Pictured: (l-r) Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski during an interview with host Seth Meyers on March 28, 2017 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough attend Silver Hill Hospital 2016 Giving Hope Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on November 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 25: Television hosts Joe Scarborough (L) and Mika Brzezinski attend 'The Americans' Season 5 Premiere at DGA Theater on February 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 203 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hosts of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski during an interview with host Seth Meyers on May 7, 2015 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough host the Silver Hill Hospital 2016 Giving Hope Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on November 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: Ami Kaplan, Tina Brown, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Cathie Black and guests attend the 5th Annual Elly Awards hosted by the Women's Forum of New York honoring Tina Brown & Emily Rafferty at The Plaza Hotel - 5th Avenue on June 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for the Elly Awards)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 02: Televsion hosts Mika Brzezinski (L) and Joe Scarborough attend the Accessories Council 20th Anniversary celebration of the ACE awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on August 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Accessories Council)
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski arrive at the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) annual dinner in Washington, DC, on April 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: (L-R) George Stephanopoulos, Alexandra Wentworth, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski attend the Yahoo News/ABC News White House Correspondents' dinner reception pre-party at the Washington Hilton on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Yahoo)
RED NOSE DAY -- Season: 2015 -- Pictured: (l-r) Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski -- (Photo by: Gavin Bond/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Television journalists Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski attend the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: TV personalities Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC attend the 2014 National Magazine Awards at The New York Marriott Marquis on May 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Al Roker, Willie Geist, Dwain Schenk, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: TV personalities Joe Scarborough (L) and Mika Brzezinski attend the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski attend the 'The Right Path: From Ike To Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics - And Can Again' book event on November 12, 2013 in New York, United States. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Mika Brzezinski (R) and Joe Scarborough, host of Morning Joe on MSNBC promote her new book 'Obsessed: The Fight Against America's (and My Own) Food Addiction' at Barnes and Noble Union Square on May 13, 2013 in New York, United States. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: Host, MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Joe Scarborough and Co-host, MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Mika Brzezinski attend the New York Women In Communications 2013 Matrix Awards on April 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Women In Communications)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 29: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of Morning Joe, hang out on floor of the Republican National Convention in the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the day Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., republican vice-presidential nominee, will address the crowd. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
NBC NEWS - EVENTS -- NBCUniversal News Group Upfront -- Pictured: (l-r) Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski -- (Photo by: Francine Daveta/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: (L-R) Roger Ailes, President of Fox News Channel, Elizabeth Tilson Ailes, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski attend the Hollywood Reporter celebration of 'The 35 Most Powerful People in Media' at the Four Season Grill Room on April 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski arrive for 'The Late Show with David Letterman' at Ed Sullivan Theater on May 8, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: 'Morning Joe' co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough attend the Hollywood Reporter celebrates 'The 35 Most Powerful People in Media' at the Four Season Grill Room on April 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough attend the Ralph Lauren celebration for the publication of 'The Hamptons: Food, Family and History' by Ricky Lauren at the Ralph Lauren Women's Boutique on May 22, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Getty Images for Ralph Lauren)
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski , co-hosts of Morning Joe television program, at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 17: Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough attend the 7th Annual Everglades Foundation Gala at The Breakers on February 17, 2012 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07: (L-R) Host Joe Scarborough, co-hosts Mika Brzezinski, and Willie Geist speak onstage during the 'Morning Joe' panel during the NBCUniversal portion of the 2012 Winter TCA Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 7, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: MSNBC's Morning Joe co-hosts Mika Brzezinski (L) and Joe Scarborough (R) attend 2011 WICT Leadership Conference and Touchstones Luncheon at New York Hilton and Towers on October 3, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Imagesfor WICT)
Television news personalities Joe Scarborough (L) and Mika Brzezinski attend the 2011 New York City Ballet Fall Gala at the David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on September 22, 2011 in New York City.
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 19: Andrew Oshrin, Michele Smith, Mika Brzezinski, and Joe Scarborough attend the opening of the Milly Madison Avenue boutique on May 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Thomas Concordia/Getty Images)
MORNING JOE -- Live from Crenshaw High School -- Pictured: (l-r) Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough (Photo by Matt Sersion/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
'Morning Joe' co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough attend the 2010 Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights Ripple of Hope Awards Dinner at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on November 17, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
TV personalities Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough attend Paul McCartney plays World Famous Apollo Theater for first time, celebrating 20 Million Sirius XM Subscribers at The Apollo Theater on December 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America)
MORNING JOE -- February 11, 2011 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough -- MORNING JOE's live broadcast from the Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago (Photo by Stacie Freudenberg/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski attend the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation's Life Without Lupus 40th anniversary gala at Lincoln Center on November 22, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28: Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough attend the Huffington Post 2010 'Game Changers' event hosted by Arianna Huffington at Skylight Studio on October 28, 2010 in New York, City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for Huffington Post)
MORNING JOE -- Pictured: (l-r) Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough -- MORNING JOE co-hosts broadcast live from EDUCATION NATION (Photo by Charles Sykes/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MORNING JOE -- Decision 2010 -- Pictured: (l-r) Co-host Mika Brzezinski, Host Joe Scarborough (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MORNING SHOW LUNCHEON -- Pictured: (l-r) Morning Joe hosts: Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough at NBC's Morning Show Luncheon on September 23, 2010 (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MORNING JOE -- Pictured: (l-r) Joe Scarborough, Tom Brokaw, Mika Brzezinski -- MORNING JOE co-hosts are joined by NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw at the 'Clinton Global Initiative' in New York on September 23, 2010 (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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