Acosta after clash with Sanders: White House has lost sight of the fact that media, Americans aren’t enemies

Following an intense exchange with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, CNN reporter Jim Acosta said Thursday that the White House “has lost sight of” the fact that the press is not an enemy of the U.S.

“I’m tired of this,” an emotional Acosta said on CNN after the exchange during the day’s White House press briefing. “It is not right, it is not fair, it is not just. It is un-American to come out here and call the press the ‘enemy of the people.'” 

“Fellow Americans are not the enemy of fellow Americans,” he added after speaking on CNN for several minutes. “Forgive me for going on a rant, but I think that they’ve lost sight of that here at this White House.” 


Acosta had left the briefing before it ended, tweeting that he was “saddened” by his spar with Sanders.

“I walked out of the end of that briefing because I am totally saddened by what just happened,” he tweeted. “Sarah Sanders was repeatedly given a chance to say the press is not the enemy and she wouldn’t do it. Shameful.”

Acosta and Sanders clashed when the press secretary made her criticisms of the press personal to CNN’s chief White House correspondent. 

“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,” Sanders said after Acosta pushed her to denounce the president’s frequent assertion that the press is the “enemy of the people.” 

Acosta and CNN have been frequent targets of escalating attacks from the White House for months. President Trump, on several occasions, has refused to take questions from Acosta, saying he doesn’t take questions from “fake news.”  

Earlier this week, Acosta posted a video of Trump supporters at a campaign-style rally in Florida yelling “CNN sucks!” and flipping him off. 

“[The press] should make some bumper stickers, make some buttons,” Acosta said on CNN after the heated exchange. “We should go out on Pennsylvania Avenue with these folks who go out and shout ‘CNN sucks.'”

“We should go out and shout, ‘the press is not the enemy of the people,’ ” he said.

“[Sanders] ought to hear some of the things that were said to me the other night in Tampa,” Acosta said, adding that he thought the press secretary also should read comments made about his colleagues at CNN. 

During the briefing, Sanders listed multiple instances in which she felt the press had personally wronged her, citing comedian Michelle Wolf’s comments made about her during the White House correspondents’ dinner in May. 

“You brought a comedian up to attack my appearance and called me a traitor to my own gender,” Sanders said. 

Acosta apologized for Wolf’s comments, but again prompted her to disavow Trump’s inflammatory remarks about the press, which he has continued to ramp up.

“We all get put through the ringer, we all get put through the meat-grinder in this town, and you’re no exception and I’m sorry that happened to you,” Acosta said.

“But for the sake of this room, the people that are in this room, this democracy, this country … The president of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy people,” Acosta said. “His own daughter acknowledges that, and all I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.”

Sanders declined to do so, saying the president has “made his position clear.”

Tags CNN Donald Trump Enemy of the people press briefings

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