President Donald Trump accused CNN reporter Jim Acosta of being a "rude, terrible person" during a press conference on the day after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives.
The exchange between Trump and Acosta was initially testy when the reporter asked about the president's characterization of a Central American migrant caravan as an "invasion" and began to challenge whether that description was appropriate. After Trump attempted to move on to another questioner, Acosta refused to give up the microphone and began asking about the possibility of indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller, prompting a tense exchange between the two men.
"Put down the mic!" Trump barked at Acosta. After Acosta gave up his microphone, Trump began to berate him.
"CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them," Trump told Acosta. "You are a rude, terrible person who should not be working for CNN."
He later added, "When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people."
Peter Alexander of NBC News soon came to Acosta's defense.
"In Jim's defense, I've traveled with him and watched him, he's a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us," Alexander told Trump before asking his question.
"Well I'm not a big fan of yours either," Trump shot back.
Earlier during the press conference, Trump bragged about how the Republican Party had supposedly "defied history" by gaining seats in the Senate despite controlling the White House during his first term. He also blasted the media for having "set a new standard" in hostility, and boasted about having succeeded in helping Republican candidates during the midterm elections despite that alleged hostility. For instance, he called attention to the large number of campaign rallies that had had "large, large numbers of people" and claimed that the media would have reported it if there had been vacant or empty seats.
Trump also took shots at various Republican congressmen who ran for reelection and lost, including Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Mike Coffman of Colorado, Mia Love of Utah and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania. His most memorable insult may have been at Love's expense, with Trump exclaiming that she "gave me no love and she lost. Too bad! Sorry about that Mia!" That said, the president received his harshest rebuke from Costello.
"To deal w harassment & filth spewed at GOP MOC’s in tough seats every day for 2 yrs, bc of POTUS; to bite ur lip more times you’d care to; to disagree & separate from POTUS on principle & civility in ur campaign; to lose bc of POTUS & have him piss on u. Angers me to my core," Costello tweeted.