Sarah Huckabee Sanders, CNN’s Acosta tangle at White House briefing over ‘enemy of the people’
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tangled with CNN’s Jim Acosta at the daily press briefing Thursday, accusing the network and other media of waging personal attacks against President Trump and herself.
In a lengthy, stormy exchange, Mrs. Sanders said journalists are complaining about the president calling them “the enemy of the people,” but they won’t accept responsibility for leveling attacks against administration officials and the president.
“It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric...” Mrs. Sanders said, noting that she is the first White House press secretary to require Secret Service protection.
“The media has attacked me personally [and] said I could be harassed as a life sentence,” she said.
A restaurant owner in Virginia asked Mrs. Sanders and her family to leave recently, saying the employees opposed the administration’s policies.
At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner last spring, she said, “you brought a comedian to attack my appearance.”
Mr. Acosta replied, “I’m sorry that happened to you. We all get put through the meat grinder in this town.”
He asked Mrs. Sanders to renounce the president’s characterization of the media as the enemy of the people, something she declined to do.
“The president of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the people,” Mr. Acosta said. “His own daughter acknowledged that.”
Ivanka Trump said at an event in Washington earlier Thursday that she does not believe the media are the enemy of the people.
Mr. Acosta confronted Mrs. Sanders, saying, “It would be a good thing if you would say right here [that] the press are not the enemy of the people. I think we deserve that.”
Broadcasting from the White House after the briefing, Mr. Acosta told viewers, “I’m tired of this.”