Trump to Acosta: CNN should be 'ashamed' of employing you

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism Trump discussing visit overseas to troops following criticism: report Retired Army General: Trump is ‘acting like an 8th grader’ in attacking ex-Navy SEAL who led bin Laden operation MORE on Wednesday sparred with reporter Jim Acosta in a press conference, at one point calling him a "rude, terrible person" and telling him CNN should be "ashamed" of employing him. 

The heated exchange began after Acosta questioned Trump over his characterization of the migrant caravan heading toward the southern U.S. border. As Acosta pressed Trump on his past comments regarding the caravan, the president appeared to grow increasingly angry.

"CNN should be ashamed of themselves, having you working for them," Trump said after Acosta gave up the mic. "You are a rude, terrible person."

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He then said Acosta shouldn't be working for the network.

Trump's barbs came after Acosta, a frequent critic of the White House, questioned Trump's characterization of the migrant caravan as an "invasion."

"I consider it to be an invasion," Trump responded.

"Well Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion, it's a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border."

Trump went on to say that he didn't think he demonized immigrants by his portrayal of the caravan. When pressed by Acosta on a controversial campaign ad about immigration, which several networks, including Fox News, pulled for being too incendiary, Trump argued the ad was accurate.

"Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better," Trump said.

Acosta began to try to ask another question and Trump said, "OK, that's enough. That's enough."

Acosta clutched the microphone as a White House aide tried to take it from him.

"Pardon me ma'am," he said to the aide. "Mr. President, I have one other question if I may ask, on the Russia investigation, are you concerned that you may —"

"I'm not concerned about anything," Trump interrupted, calling the probe "a hoax."

"That's enough, put down the mic," the president. 

When Acosta continued to attempt to ask the question, Trump walked away from the podium and paced on the stage.

Acosta gave up the microphone and Trump lit into him, calling him a rude and terrible person

"You're a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible," Trump said, referring to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has sparred with Acosta many times.

"And the way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn't treat other people that way." 

Trump's "ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement provided to The Hill. 

“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere,” the news network added.