Missing a baseball game was only the half of it.

“Morning Joe” co-anchors Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough delayed a previously planned vacation to watch the Red Sox in Boston by a day to reply on their MSNBC talkshow and in the Washington Post to the president. Trump had posted a heavily criticized pair of tweets yesterday alleging that Brzezinski had a botched face lift and calling Scarborough “psycho Joe.”

But according to the duo, both former friends of Trump who recently got engaged to each other, what supposedly happened behind the scenes was even more incendiary. They allege they were contacted by the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid controlled by a close friend of Trump, threatening to run a negative story unless they called the president to apologize for their heavily critical coverage of him. Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, told viewers that he got calls from senior administration officials urging him to ring the president. Brzezinski also claims that the tabloid’s reporters harassed her two teenage daughters.

While the president’s recent actions have been characterized as below the belt by even his political allies, Brzezinski and Scarborough declined to apologize to POTUS and generally took the high road in their response. On their talk show this morning, the couple suggested that the president’s rhetoric went beyond them and instead reflected a trend about his discomfort with women who criticize him. “I’m fine personally, but I’m concerned about what this reveals about the president,” Brzezinski said. “I’m OK, the country’s not,” Scarborough added. “He’s so much more vicious with women.”

When Donny Deutsch, a guest on the show this morning, suggested that he would fight the president on the playground if Trump treated his daughter the way he did Brzezinski, Scarborough said he wanted to move the conversation away from the schoolyard. Indeed, while the political talkshow hosts couldn’t resist some sly digs at Trump, like suggesting he wasn’t “mentally equipped to continue watching our show,” and suggesting he had tiny hands, they resisted airing the National Enquirer story in public until today.

The president then responded over—duh— Twitter:

Experts generally speak highly of the approach the “Morning Joe” hosts took. “You should never say ‘boys will be boys,’” says Eden Abrahams, a New York executive coach, referencing how Trump has explained previous derogatory comments about women as “locker room talk.” For her, that’s no excuse. “If you do, the person will feel emboldened.”

“Demonstrate self respect by not stooping to their level,” career coach Katie Bennett told Moneyish. “Be the higher person and don’t go the children’s playground route.”

That said, Abrahams the managing partner at Clear Path Executive Coaching thinks this is a problem most Americans won’t have to face. “In a corporate environment, there are norms, behaviors and enforcers,” she says. “If a manager behaved the way Trump did, he’d be fired or severely reprimanded.”