President Donald Trump slammed CNN reporter Jim Acosta during a press conference on Wednesday, blasting him for his behavior toward White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and for being a “rude, terrible person.”
The spar happened when Acosta prodded the president over his campaign messaging, specifically his decision to focus on illegal immigration and the migrant caravan.
Acosta brought up how Trump had called the caravan an “invasion,” to which the president doubled-down and said, “I consider it to be an invasion.”
“It was not an invasion,” Acosta claimed.
Acosta tried to explain why he thinks the caravan was not an invasion to which Trump responded: “Thank you for telling me that information.”
Acosta then falsely implied that Trump tried to demonize immigrants during the election, when, in reality, Trump’s campaign message when focused on illegal immigration.
“I want them to come into the country, but they have to come in legally,” Trump said. “You know they have to come in Jim through a process.”
The exchange between Trump and CNN’s professional provocateur quickly escalated, which ended up with Trump embarrassing Acosta.
“I think you should let me run the country and let you run CNN, ” Trump said. Trump said, blasting Acosta. “You shouldn’t be working for CNN. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
Full Transcript, provided via NewsBusters:
JIM ACOSTA: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to challenge you on one of the statements that you made in the tail end of the campaign in the midterms.
DONALD TRUMP: Here we go.
ACOSTA: If you don’t mind, Mr. President. That, well, that this caravan was an invasion.
TRUMP: I consider it to be an invasion.
ACOSTA: The caravan was not an invasion. It was a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.
TRUMP: Thank you for telling me that. I appreciate it.
ACOSTA: Why did you characterize it as such and —
TRUMP: Because I consider it an invasion. You and I have a difference of opinion.
ACOSTA: But do you think that you demonized immigrants in this election to try to keep them —
TRUMP: Not at all. I want them to come into the country but they have to come in legally. They have to come in, Jim, through a process. I want it to be a process. And I want the people to come in and we need the people.
ACOSTA: Your campaign —
TRUMP: Wait, wait! Wait. You know why we need the people. We had hundreds of companies moving in. We need the people.
ACOSTA: Your campaign had an ad showing migrants climbing over walls and so on.
TRUMP: That’s true. They weren’t actors.
ACOSTA: They aren’t going to be doing that.
TRUMP: Well, no. It was true. Do you think they were actors? They weren’t actors. They didn’t come from Hollywood. These were people — this was an actual, you know, it happened a few days ago and —
ACOSTA: They’re hundreds of miles away. They are hundreds and hundreds of miles away. That’s not an invasion.
TRUMP: Honestly I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN and if you did it well, your ratings would be much higher. Okay, that’s enough.
ACOSTA: If I may ask one more question.
[White House staffer comes and tries to take microphone.]
TRUMP: That’s enough. That’s enough. That’s enough.
ACOSTA: Excuse me, I was going to ask one other question. Pardon me, ma’am.
TRUMP: That’s enough.
ACOSTA: Mr. President, I had one other question if I may ask on the Russia investigation. Are you concerned that you may have —
TRUMP: I’m not concerned about anything with the Russian investigation because it’s a hoax. That’s enough. Put down the mic!
ACOSTA: Mr. President, are you worried about indictments coming down in this investigation? Mr. President —
TRUMP: I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. [To Peter Alexander.] Go ahead. You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible and the way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way. Go ahead. Go ahead, Peter.