President Donald Trump on Wednesday called CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta an “enemy of the people,” the first apparent time the president has used the term to publicly single out one reporter.
During his press conference following Tuesday’s midterm elections, which was marked by contentious back-and-forths between the president and reporters, Trump fielded a question from Acosta about the migrant caravan and the Trump campaign’s recent racist anti-immigrant ad. The exchange quickly devolved into the kind of clash Acosta has become known for.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,” Trump said as he attempted to move on to the next question. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.” Trump added that the way Acosta treats White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is “horrible.”
The next reporter to ask a question, NBC’s Peter Alexander, challenged the president’s characterization, calling Acosta a diligent reporter, before Trump cut him off, too. “I’m not a big fan of yours, either,” Trump said, before turning his attention back to Acosta, who was still standing and attempting to ask a question.
“When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people,” Trump said, pointing at Acosta.
In a statement soon after, CNN said Trump’s “ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American.”