Acosta, who critics say acts more like an activist than a reporter, was called on by the president at a post-midterms press conference at the White House on Nov. 7.
Trump started off by saying he was pleased with the results of the elections, noting that Republicans extended their majority in the Senate while also retaining some closely contested governor seats in states such as Florida and Ohio.
He then said that he was glad that the Democrats ended up in control of Congress as opposed to Republicans keeping a majority by just a few seats because it would be easier for Trump and the Senate to work with Congress that way.
Trump said that if Democrats brought forth strong legislation on issues important to them such as the environment, infrastructure, and healthcare, then it was possible some Senate Republicans would help pass the legislation and Trump would then sign it.
While Trump appeared comfortable and relaxed, he grew upset quickly after Acosta was called upon and refused to let other reporters speak after Trump answered his four questions.
Acosta told Trump that he disagreed with the president characterizing the migrant caravan heading through Mexico the United States as “an invasion.”
“As you know Mr. President, it was not an invasion,” Acosta said, citing no evidence for his claim. He also referenced an advertisement Trump released ahead of the midterms that showed video footage of migrants tearing down fences at the Guatemala-Mexico border. Officials in those countries also said the migrants committed acts of violence against police officers that left many wounded.
“I consider it an invasion, you and I have a difference of an opinion,” Trump responded. Acosta then claimed that the president may have “demonized immigrants,” which the president disagreed with.
Trump tried to move on and call another reporter, as all others reporters only asked one or two questions, but Acosta refused to give up the microphone and began shouting at the president. He also yanked the mic away from a White House aide who tried to take it to give it to another person.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) November 7, 2018
“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.
Trump asked him to sit down multiple times but Acosta kept speaking. Trump stepped away from the lectern before coming back and slamming Acosta. “I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them,” the president said, shaking a finger at Acosta.
The exchange set off a furor among political reporters and websites, with some saying he stood up to the president while others decried his apparent lack of manners.
But Acosta seemed to fuel criticism of him on Twitter on Wednesday, tweeting that Trump sounded “depressed and despondent” when in fact Trump appeared cheerful and ready to work with the Democrat-controlled Congress. Acosta also claimed Trump sounded “aggrieved” and said Trump is “dishonest.”