The Slatest

“You Are a Rude, Terrible Person”: Trump Scolds and Insults Reporters at Press Conference

Donald Trump pointing to Jim Acosta, the CNN reporter, during a press conference in the White House.
President Donald Trump points to CNN’s Jim Acosta during a press conference in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday.
Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

In his first public remarks following the midterm elections, President Donald Trump got into repeated scraps with various members of the White House press corps.

It started with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who asked the president how he could call the migrant caravan an “invasion” when “they’re hundreds of miles away. That’s not an invasion.” Trump responded by saying, “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.” He then barked at Acosta, “That’s enough. That’s enough. … Put down the mike.”

As Acosta tried to continue asking about Russia, Trump scolded, “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,” and then added, “The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people is horrible.” As Trump tried to move on to another reporter, a press aide tried multiple times to grab the microphone away from Acosta.

Then Trump snapped, “When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”

When Peter Alexander of NBC tried to defend Acosta, Trump got in a jab: “I’m not a big fan of yours, either, to be honest.” After Alexander proceeded with his question, Trump interrupted and chided, “What, are you trying to be him?,” motioning to Acosta.

Acosta and Alexander were not the only reporters the president got in tiffs with. He also shouted down April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, commanding her to “sit down” and callng her rude. (In total, he barked at reporters to “sit down” at least five times in the press conference.)

Clearly exasperated, he then groaned, “Very hostile! Such a hostile media. It’s so sad.”

Later, PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor asked Trump if, when he called himself a “nationalist,” he was emboldening the white nationalists who support him, Trump almost immediately interrupted and said she had asked “such a racist question” before boasting, without evidence, that he had “among the highest poll numbers with African Americans.” He then called it a “racist question” twice more and said, “I love our country, you have nationalists, and you have globalists.”

Almost immediately after the press conference ended, CNN issued a statement saying that “This President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American.”