President Donald Trump ripped CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta on Wednesday, calling him a “terrible person” to his face after the journalist repeatedly questioned him in an East Room press conference the day after the midterm elections.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN,” the president said as Acosta stammered. “The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. The way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
The moment came after a series of tough questions about the migrant caravan, which Trump frequently spoke about in the days before the midterms. A rep for CNN condemned the incident an “un-American”
”This President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American,” a rep for the network told TheWrap. “While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.”
When a White House aide finally wrested the mic away from Acosta and handed it to Peter Alexander, the NBC correspondent stood up for his CNN friend, earning him an additional rebuke from the president.
“In Jim’s defense, I’ve traveled with him and watched him. He’s a diligent reporter who busts his butt,” said Alexander.
“I’m not a big fan of yours, either,” Trump snapped back.
The outburst was the latest in a long series of spats between Trump and Acosta and CNN, which the president again called “fake news” and “the enemy of the people.”
After losing the mic, Acosta attempted to ask a question about pipe bombs, presumably the ones CNN and a number of prominent Democrats and Trump critics received last month.
“Such a hostile media,” he added later. “So sad.”
The press conference was ostensibly to address Trump’s thought on the midterm elections last night, where Republicans lost the House of Representatives but expanded their hold over the Senate. He also used his platform to praise many of the defeated Democrats and their fans — including Oprah Winfrey, who he called a friend.
“People … worked very very hard respectfully for those candidates, like Oprah Winfrey, who I like. I don’t know if she likes me anymore but that’s ok. She used to,” said Trump. “But she worked very hard in Georgia. Very very hard.”
“I do like Oprah I do,” he said later in response to question from reporter Brian Karem. “I have a lot of respect for her. Unfortunately, she didn’t do the trick.”