CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta on Monday ripped President Trump as “just a dishonest, deceptive person.”
During a CNN panel discussion in New York, Acosta also dissed White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “I wouldn’t put productive and a Sarah Sanders briefing in the same sentence.”
Sanders and reps for Acosta did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The veteran broadcaster lamented the atmosphere at Trump’s campaign rallies.
“If you want to ask me what makes me the most depressed about my job, it’s covering the rallies,” Acosta said. “At rally after rally after rally, having the President of the United States whip people up into a frenzy and attack the press is the most depressing thing that I’ve ever witnessed as a journalist.”
Acosta is routinely mocked by Trump rally-goers, and on Monday he described a scene where one Trump fan made a slit throat motion toward him when they made eye contact.
In one notable instance earlier this week, Acosta slipped into the direct messages of a Twitter troll to tell him “f— you.”
“To me, that’s the Trump effect. It has normalized and sanitized cruelty in a way I just never thought I would see before,” he said. “It felt like we weren’t in the United States anymore.”
Acosta made the remarks while on a panel with New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman and White House Correspondents Association chief Olivier Knox.
Haberman, a veteran of the New York tabloid scene during Trump’s heyday, broadly concurred with Acosta’s assessment about Trump’s penchant for dishonesty.
“There’s no great answer other than to just keeping doing it,” she said, noting that the real estate magnate would frequently try and pit the New York Post against the Daily News during the 1990s.
The full-day event at CNN’s headquarters in New York City also featured interviews with newsmakers including U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and White House adviser Jared Kushner.