After being greeted with chants of “CNN sucks!” at a Trump rally Tuesday, CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta has been on a mission to get the White House to officially retract President Trump’s favorite refrain: The Fake News Media is the enemy of the American people.
At the White House briefing on Thursday, Acosta attempted to get Press Sec. Sarah Sanders to disavow the “enemy” label because he and his colleagues “deserve” it. “I think it would be a good thing if you were to state right here at this briefing that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier are not the enemy of the people,” said Acosta, adding, “I think we deserve that.”
But Sanders wouldn’t play along; instead, she unloaded on him for his hypocritical request for softened rhetoric amid his and his colleague’s over-the-top and at times dangerous “verbal assaults,” which she’s experienced firsthand.
“It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric, when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country,” said Sanders. “Repeatedly, repeatedly, the media resorts to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger. The media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions, including on your own network. Said I should be harassed as a life sentence, that I should be choked. … When I was hosted by the Correspondents Association, of which almost all of you are members of, you brought a comedian up to attack my appearance and call me a traitor to my own gender. In fact, as far as I know, I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection. The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in his administration, and certainly we have a role to play, but the media has a role to play for the discourse in this country as well.”
Acosta responded by walking out…at the end of the briefing:
While some online expressed their solidarity, Acosta’s critics on the right, including the Federalist’s’ Molly Hemingway and the Daily Wire’s Joseph Curl, weren’t feeling overly sympathetic to his increasingly self-promotional crusade:
A few other examples of critical responses, some a bit more direct: