Trump's comments about women under scrutiny for second time this week

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's tweets about Mika Brzezinski mark the second time this week that the president's comments about women have come under scrutiny -- an issue that also dogged him during the campaign.

What drew scrutiny earlier this week wasn't an insult, but a compliment: "Caitriona Perry, she has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well," Mr. Trump said.

White House aides said the president was just being friendly to an Irish reporter.

Critics say he has a history of honing in on women's looks, such as when Megyn Kelly said to him, "you've called women you don't like 'fat pigs, dogs, slobs.'"

When Kelly asked him about it last year, candidate Trump trained his fire on her, saying, "there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever."

But now he inhabits the Oval Office.

A league of Democratic congresswomen on Thursday accused him of setting a bad example for young men.

"Stop the disrespect!" they said.

"This is not acceptable, Mr. President," said Michigan's Brenda Lawrence. "You do not have the right because you have a Twitter account to display behavior that I taught my son never to do. "


Michigan's Brenda Lawrence called on President Trump to "stop the disrespect" of women.

CBS News

They noted that Thursday's tweet is nothing new for a man with a history of crude comments -- such as when he said on "Access Hollywood, "You can grab 'em by the p****. You can do anything" -- and for a man who publicly mocked the appearance of both of his female opponents: First Carly Fiorina, then Hillary Clinton.

"When she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn't impressed," Mr. Trump said about Clinton

"When you become president of the United States, it's beneath your dignity to launch those kinds of attacks," said Maine Republican Susan Collins. 

Collins has repeatedly implored her party's leader to tone down the rhetoric.

A number of female lawmakers have said that the president has a problem with sexism, but Collins say she has "not experienced that personally."

"What I think is the president has a problem with anyone who criticizes him or doesn't agree with him," Collins said.

Republicans have criticized the president's tweets many times before, but what was different on Thursday was their intensity, with many of them outright begging him to stop. But they're not optimistic he will listen because they realize some of these habits are ingrained.   

The concern of people who want him to succeed is that his comments will hurt his political agenda. They fear that these comments further weaken his relationship with his own party's members and also reduce his influence over them on issues like health care. It also makes Republicans less likely to call on him as a messenger on these issues because they can never be quite sure about what he's going to say – and whether it's going to help or hurt their cause. 

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.