President Trump got sour, and then sweet, with CNN reporter Jim Acosta during his rambling press conference Thursday, doubling down on his claim that the reporter’s network was peddling “fake news” before sharing a light-hearted moment with him.
During a tense back-and-forth that began after Trump called on Acosta, the commander-in-chief slammed the reporter’s company’s ratings and insisted his network was full of “hatred.”
“The reporting is fake, and I’ll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know, the word tone. The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way,” Trump said.
“I think you’d do much better by being different,” Trump added, before delving into a wild prediction about how the rambling 80-minute missive would be treated by the media.
“They’ll take this news conference, I’m actually having a very good time, OK? But they’ll take this news conference, don’t forget, that’s the way I won … But I’m having a good time. Tomorrow they’ll say Donald Trump rants and raves at the press,” Trump said.
“I’m not ranting and raving; I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people. But, I’m not ranting and raving. I love this. I’m having a good time doing it. But tomorrow the headlines are going to be Donald trump rants and raves. I’m not ranting and raving,” Trump said, ranting and raving.
Trump, however, saved a bit of sweetness for Acosta, with whom he’s tussled previously, teasing the reporter for sharing a last name with the new Labor Secretary nominee, Alex Acosta.
“You’re not related to our new,” Trump said, before Acosta jumped in.
“I am not related, sir. I do like the sound of Secretary Acosta, I must say,” Acosta replied.
Trump replied, “You know, I looked at that name. I said wait a minute. Is there any relation there, Alex Acosta?”
“I checked it. They said, no, sir. I said, ‘do me a favor, go back and check the family tree,'” he said.
The pair then began quarreling again, after Acosta asked Trump whether he was “concerned” that he was “undermining the people’s faith in the First Amendment, freedom of the press” by calling “stories you don’t like fake news.”