Before CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta even appeared on set last night, the producers of Jimmy Kimmel Live played a 30-second montage showing the oft-combative reporter getting in arguments with Trump administration officials, including the president himself, who once kicked Acosta out of the Oval office during a press gathering.
Kimmel went on to introduce Acosta as “not the most popular journalist at the White House,” before saying how he loves how Acosta “busts their balls,” a comment which got a significant cheer from the studio audience.
In terms of his relationships with press secretaries – Acosta told Kimmel that Sean Spicer was one of his sources before becoming Whtie House press secretary, and would take his calls. He also said that he tries to have a good relationship with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “but we’re not going to go out and be bowling buddies after hours…my job is to ask tough questions.”
One moment that has stood out to Acosta during his coverage of this White House was when Pres. Trump called him “fake news” and then “very fake news” to his face at a press conference.
When Acosta knew he was being ignored on multiple occasions by Spicer in particular, he would shout out a question as the conference was wrapping up, knowing full well that CNN was still showing the presser live at that time. “You can skip over us, but we’re still going to ask these questions,” he said.
Acosta knew immediately that this administration would be unlike any other when during the campaign Trump would refer to reporters as “the disgusting news media,” “scum,” “liars,” “thieves,” and “liars,” and that he once called him “a real beauty.”
Kimmel asked Acosta if he ever feels sorry for Sanders and Spicer, to which Acosta replied: “They have signed up for this, and if they’re going to lie to the American people, those lies come with consequences…we’re just not going to stop.”
He also recalls the White House Easter egg hunt when the press office moved Acosta to three different locations on the lawn so as he would have a tough time asking the president a question. The plan failed, and the president eventually walked by where Acosta was stationed, and he was able to get in a question about Trump’s comment that “DACA is dead.”
Acosta also said he “dares” the president to sit down for an interview with him, but realistically doesn’t believe it will ever happen.