President Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta are not pals.
The two have clashed repeatedly in the past, and did so again on Tuesday as the president traveled through India, trailed by the U.S. press corps.
Eventually in his 45-minute press conference, Trump called on Acosta, who asked: “Can you pledge to the American people that you will not accept any foreign assistance in the upcoming election?”
“First of all, I want no help from any country,” Trump said, “and I haven’t been given help from any country and if you see what CNN, your wonderful network, said, I guess they apologized in a way for — didn’t they apologize for the fact that they said certain things that weren’t true? Tell me, what was their apology yesterday? What did they say?”
“Mr. President,” Acosta broke in, “I think our record on delivering the truth is a lot better than yours sometimes, if you don’t mind me saying.
“Let me tell you about your record, your record is so bad you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” Trump added. “You have the worst record in the history of broadcasting.”
“I’m not ashamed of anything and our organization is not ashamed,” Acosta said.
The exchange brought a few giggles from the gaggle of reporters in the room.
Back in 2018, Acosta had his press pass pulled by the White House after he refused to give up the microphone during a presidential press conference, and even swiped away the hand of a young White House staffer.
Then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at the time: “CNN, who has nearly 50 additional hard pass holders, and Mr. Acosta is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment. After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions — each of which the President answered — he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions. This was not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters.”
CNN objected, saying: “The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process. We have asked the court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass to be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”
The White House eventually relented and returned the press pass to Acosta, who has cashed in on his fame, writing a book in 2019 titled: “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America.”
When Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham took over for Sanders, she put daily briefings on hold because of grandstanding reporters like Acosta.
“Ultimately, if the president decided it’s something we should do, we can do that, but right now he’s doing just fine and to be honest, the briefings had become a lot of just theater,” Grisham said. “And to be honest, the briefings have become a lot of theater. And I think that a lot of reporters were doing it to get famous. I mean, yeah, they’re writing books now. I mean, they’re all getting famous off of this presidency. And so, I think it’s great what we’re doing now.”