CNN reporter Jim Acosta had yet another shockingly uncomfortable exchange with President Trump during a press conference Wednesday. This one may have been the worst yet. It was the president's post-midterms presser and he was pleased that Tuesday was close to a "complete success."
When Trump finished his remarks and answered a few opening questions, he called on Acosta. The latter switched the conversation to immigration. He tried to tell Trump that the migrant caravan is not an "invasion," after which Trump insisted he "sit down!" He went on to call Acosta a "rude, terrible person," who CNN should be "ashamed of."
The exchange was so jarring that CNN was compelled to release an official statement about it.
Acosta offered his coworkers back in the CNN studio some reactions following the presser. Trump seemed "depressed" at the presser and the whole thing seemed like a "pity party," according to Acosta. He added that the president did not want to be faced with his "lie" about the caravan being an invasion.
Acosta then accused Trump of "attacking people of color" at the presser. At different points, Trump told CNN political analyst April Ryan to "sit down" and he accused a PBS Newshour reporter Yamiche Alcindor of asking a "racist" question about him embracing the word "nationalism." Trump explained that he berated Ryan because she "rudely interrupted" another reporter and Alcindor's question was "racist" and "insulting." He defended his relationship with the black community, noting that he has some of "the highest poll numbers" among African-Americans.
The CNN panelists agreed with Ryan, however, that the president's behavior was unacceptable.
"I don't even know where to start with that," Dana Bash said of Trump's response to Alcindor. "It makes no sense at all.
Ryan said she was "taken aback" by the president's calling Alcindor's question racist. People in the black community were "up in arms about it," she said. They are concerned the word nationalism is "code" for white nationalism. She said the president needs to explain what he meant.
Alcindor's question "was not meant to be insulting," Ryan insisted. "It was meant to give clarity. That's all."
"He made it worse" by calling the question racist, Bash said.
"That's how he plays," John King agreed, adding that he "knows that word has baggage."
Neither Acosta nor Ryan addressed this.