US Politics

Donald Trump clashes with 'rude, terrible' CNN reporter

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Donald Trump has clashed with CNN reporter Jim Acosta on national television.

A visibly angry President Donald Trump branded CNN's White House correspondent Jim Acosta a "rude, terrible person" and an "enemy of the people" in a testy exchange on national television Wednesday the day after America's midterm elections.

Trump laid into the CNN star - the latest in a long history of testy exchanges between the pair -- after Acosta refused Trump's orders to sit down and give up the microphone during a press conference.

Trump appeared ready to walk out as Acosta clung to the microphone and persisted with questions about the president's views on a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the US border.

President Donald Trump clashed with CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference in the East Room of the White House.
President Donald Trump clashed with CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference in the East Room of the White House.
AAP

When asked if he had "demonized immigrants" during the midterms campaign, Trump replied: "No, I want them to come into the country. But they have to come in legally."

Acosta persisted, saying: "They are hundreds of miles away. That is not an invasion."

At that point, the president snapped.

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

As the reporter continued, Trump declared: "That's enough, put down the mic" and walked away from his own podium, as if leaving.

An aide attempted to grab the microphone from Acosta, who nevertheless trued to shout out one last question.

Waving his finger, Trump berated him.

President Donald Trump clashed with CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference in the East Room of the White House.
President Donald Trump clashed with CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference in the East Room of the White House.
AAP

"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," he said.

When NBC reporter Peter Alexander took the mic for the next question, he defended Acosta as a "diligent reporter" - earning Trump's ire.

"I'm not a fan of yours either. To be honest. You aren't the best," he said.

Looking back at Acosta, who again rose up in his own defense, Trump added: "When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people."

CNN later responded to the exchange, calling it "dangerous" and "un-American".

“This President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far,” a CNN spokesperson said.

“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."

Acosta told fellow journalists the president did not like getting called out.

“That’s the way I look at it. I had a question to ask," he told CNN's Jake Tapper. 

 

"He just didn’t like hearing that question. He didn’t like being challenged on that point. And he certainly doesn’t like being called out for his falsehoods. But of course Jake, as you were just mentioning, that’s our job. That’s what we do over here.”

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