In an interview about his new book, “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth”, over the weekend, CNN’s Jim Acosta claimed that President Trump actually thinks he’s “very professional,” but that he has only been told this in secret.
Acosta explained on the Canadian news show, “The Agenda with Steve Paikin,” that President Trump’s friction with the press is all an “act” to rile up his supporters – and that he and the news media are “not in” on it.
Read that again.
He claimed that following a February 2017 White House press conference where Trump called Acosta “very fake news,” he received a phone call from then-top aide Hope Hicks to let him know that the President actually thought Acosta was “very professional” and that he knows “Jim gets it.” He also claimed that he has received numerous phone calls from Trump aides explaining that Trump’s frustrations with the news media are all “an act” and “he doesn’t really mean it.”
His remarks went as follows:
I think that is what has been picked up on here in the United States and around the world, that this is a very difficult and somewhat dangerous time for the press in covering this administration because this is really nothing like we’ve ever seen before ...
This happened after the February 2017 press conference, the president called me ‘very fake news,’ and after the press conference was over, I got a call from one of his top aides, Hope Hicks, and she said to me on the phone ‘Jim, I just want you to know the president thought you were very professional today, and said “Jim gets it,”’ and I thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute, the president just referred to me as very fake news five minutes ago and now he’s saying I’m professional and I get it? I don’t know what’s going on here, am I in the twilight zone?’
I talked to a number of his aides and they basically explained, ‘Jim, this is an act; he doesn’t really mean it’ and so on. You know, there are lots of ways to parse this. First, you know, I’m not in on the act; we’re not a part of some reality TV show contrived melodrama that he’s trying to put out there to prop up his political prospects. We’re here to do the news; we’re here to report on his administration. The second thing is, and I write about this a great deal in my book, and I think it’s something that people need to think deeply about, not everybody is in on the act.
The clashes with Trump are a part of Acosta’s persona now. He got to write a book about it. He insists that he and other members of the press are not part of the “act,” but his actions and behavior at White House press conferences beg to differ.