Jim Acosta to Sarah Sanders: ‘Will You Say Right Here at This Briefing That the Press Is Not the Enemy of the People?’

By A.J. Katz 

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders allowed CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta to ask a question at this afternoon’s press briefing, despite the intense rhetoric coming from both sides, particularly in recent days.

It got contentious, as one might have expected.

Acosta: I wanted to follow up from Sarah[McCammon] question from NPR. She asked you about Ivanka Trump‘s statement that “the press is not the enemy of the people.” She asked you whether or not the press is the enemy of the people. You read off a laundry list of your concerns about the press and then things that you feel were misreported, but you did not say that the press is not the enemy of the people. I think it would be a good thing if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier are not the enemy of the people. I think we deserve that.


There was cross talk between Sanders and Acosta, before Sanders commenced with her answer.

Sanders:  It’s ironic Jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric when they frequently lowered the level of conversation in this country. Repeatedly, the media restarts personal attacks without any content other to incite anger. The media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions, including at your own network; said I should be harassed as a life sentence. That I should be choked. ICE officials are not welcomed in their place of worship, and personal information is shared on the internet. When I was hosted by the Correspondents Association, of which almost all of you are members of, you brought up a comedian to attack my appearance and call me a traitor to my own gender. As far as I know I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that has required Secret Service protection. The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in this administration and certainly we have a role to play but the media has to role to play for the discourse in this country as well. 

Acosta: If I may followup. you did not say in the course of those remarks that you just made that the press is not the enemy of the people.

Look, we all get put through the wringer, we all get put through the meat grinder in this town. And you’re no exception. And I’m sorry that happened to you. I wish that had not happened. But for the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country; all the people of the people who are watching around the world what you’re saying, Sarah, and the White House of the United State of America, the President of the United States should not refer to us as “the enemy of the people.” His own daughter acknowledges that, and all I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here!

Sanders: I appreciate your passion, and I share it. I’ve addressed this question, I’ve addressed my personal feelings. I’m hear to speak on behalf of the president. He has made his comments clear.

Acosta’s post-presser response:


Other TV newsers weighed in: