President Donald Trump called CNN reporter Jim Acosta “fake news” during a heated back-and-forth at the White House on Monday.
Trump’s taunt came after he signed an act addressing China trade policy. After the event, Acosta asked the president why he didn’t “condemn” hate groups by name on Saturday during the Charlottesville, Virginia riots, which left one protestor dead.
“They’ve been condemned. They have been condemned,” Trump said.
Last week, Trump said he would hold a press conference on Monday — but there was no scheduled briefing where the press could ask the president questions. Asked about the schedule discrepancy by Acosta, Trump replied, “We had a press conference. We just had a press conference.” When Acosta pressed Trump to answer “more questions,” the president said, “It doesn’t bother me at all but, you know, I like real news. Not fake news. You’re fake news.”
Trump then left as reporters shouted more questions at him — including Acosta, who can be heard saying, “Mr. President, haven’t you spread a lot of fake news yourself, sir?”
On Twitter, Acosta took a shot at the president, calling out Trump’s press conference claim as “fake news.”
After the Charlottesville riots on Saturday, Trump said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
“It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America,” he said. Trump failed to call out the white supremacist groups responsible for the unrest, and his “on many sides” comment was criticized for seeming to equate the hate groups with the anti-fascists and Black Lives Matter counter-protesters.
By Sunday, the White House issued a statement from an unnamed spokesperson clarifying that Trump had condemned “white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups” in his initial remarks, even though Trump didn’t single any group out by name.
On Monday, Trump held a short press briefing, where he read a prepared statement about Charlottesville after discussing the economy.
“As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence,” Trump said. “It has no place in America. And as I have said many times before, no matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.”
Trump added, “Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs including the KKK, neo Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”