“Let me tell you about your record,” Trump said. “Your record is so bad you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
“I’m not ashamed of anything, and our organization’s not ashamed,” Acosta said, as Trump continued, “You probably have the worst record in the history of broadcasting.”
Sparring with an adversarial news media — and with Acosta in particular — is nothing new for the president, of course, a habit that dates back to Trump’s 2016 campaign.
A 2017 POLITICO Magazine profile of Acosta called him “the chief antagonist for a network that styles itself as Trump’s chief antagonist.”
Their battles peaked just after the 2018 midterm elections, when the Trump administration suspended Acosta’s White House credentials, barring him from the White House and provoking an outcry over press freedom. A Trump-appointed judge quickly ruled in Acosta’s favor when the network brought a lawsuit, and his credentials were restored within a couple of weeks.
On Thursday, their exchange came after a pair of sharp questions from Acosta, who asked whether Trump would pledge not to accept foreign help in the election and why he had tapped Ric Grenell as acting director of national intelligence given Grenell’s lack of intelligence experience.
“We’re talking to five different people right now” for the permanent position, Trump said. “I think all people that you know. All people that you respect. And I’ll make a decision probably over the next week to two weeks.”
The president also defended his removal of Joseph Maguire from the DNI position. Some critics have warned that Trump’s replacement of Maguire with Grenell, a fierce Trump ally, would turn a key intelligence position into a political one. But Trump praised Maguire as a “terrific guy” and said his departure had nothing to do with loyalty to the president.
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