WASHINGTON – Calling the news media “the enemy of the people” and insulting a critical reporter from CNN, while a White House aide attempted to grab the microphone from him, are some of the ingredients of US President Donald Trump’s latest attack against the press.
“That’s enough. Put down the mic... I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person,” Trump told CNN reporter Jim Acosta during a White House press conference, reiterating that the news media was “the enemy of the people.”
Meanwhile, a White House aide approached Acosta and unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from him, though the CNN reporter sat down soon afterward.
“Honestly, I think you should let me run the country and you run CNN and, if you did it well, your ratings would be much better,” Trump told Acosta.
“When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people,” Trump said.
The president and his administration often use the term “fake news” to refer to several media outlets that have criticized him.
After the incident, Peter Alexander of NBC News defended his colleague from CNN, as Trump responded: “Well, I’m not a big fan of yours either, to be honest. You’re not the best.”
The attack against Acosta was not the only incident during the press conference, as Trump accused another reporter of posing a “racist question.”
The president said he was offended after a reporter asked him whether his decision to describe himself as a nationalist during the mid-term campaigns could have encouraged white nationalists.
“That is such a racist question,” Trump told PBS television correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, who is African American.
This is the way the president deflected the question, as he avoided having to distance himself from white nationalism, a movement that has praised Trump’s policies and rhetoric.
“What you said is so insulting to me. It’s a very terrible thing that you said,” Trump added.