President Donald Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta sparred during a tense exchange on Friday morning after the president accused the “fake news” reporter of having “an agenda” because he asked Trump if he — the president — manufactured the border crisis.
Trump officially declared a national emergency on Friday during a speech in the Rose Garden; the purpose is to secure billions in border wall funding that congressional Democrats wouldn’t give him.
He is receiving intense pushback from Democrats, as expected; and the Supreme Court will likely have to issue a ruling on the matter.
“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border … One way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said on Friday. “We’re talking about an invasion of our country.”
The government partially shut down in late December after Democrats refused to give Trump the $5.7 billion he requested in necessary border wall funding. It reopened in January after Trump signed a temporary budget deal that lasted through Friday.
Trump reluctantly signed lawmakers’ budget deal with just $1.375 billion in border barrier funding on Friday to keep the government open.
After his speech, the president took questions from reporters. Acosta (pictured above right) asked Trump if he could comment on “this disconnect” in which “you are presenting information about what’s happening at the border, calling it an invasion” — and “a lot of reporting out there” disputes such an invasion.
Acosta said that “there is a lot of Department of Homeland Security data out there that shows border crossings at a near-record low.”
“That’s because of us,” Trump interrupted, noting that “there’s still massive numbers” of illegal immigrants entering the U.S.
The CNN reporter pushed on, pointing to statistics showing that illegal immigrants commit crimes “at lower levels than native-born Americans.”
“You don’t really believe that stat? Do you really believe that stat?” Trump said to him. “Take a look at our federal prisons.”
Acosta quipped, “I believe in facts and statistics and data.”
He then added, “What do you say to your critics who say that you are creating a national emergency, that you are concocting a national emergency here in order to get your wall?”
Trump fired back, “What do you think? Do you think I am creating something?”
The president pointed to a group of Angel Moms sitting in the audience who lost their children at the hands of illegal immigrants.
“Ask these incredible women who lost their daughters and their sons. OK? Because your question is a very political question. Because you have an agenda. You are CNN. You are fake news. You have an agenda,” the president added.
“The numbers that you gave are wrong. Take a look at our federal prison population. See how many of them, percentage-wise, are illegal aliens. Just see. Go ahead and see,” Trump continued. “It’s a fake question.”
Acosta has gotten into trouble with Trump and White House officials before for slipping his own personal opinions into questions that are supposed to be objective.
Many mainstream media members dismissed the southern border crisis and downplayed the threat illegal immigration poses to the nation.
Some mocked Trump for championing American safety and sovereignty over open borders.
Some of these media critics — including Acosta — also doubted that a Central American migrant caravan that traveled to the U.S. during the last few months of 2018 even existed.
The caravan did, in fact, exist — Acosta was proven wrong.
But Acosta entered into an infamous spat about the caravan with Trump during a briefing back in November that resulted in the White House’s temporarily pulling his press credentials.
Acosta said he wanted to “challenge” Trump about his caravan claims and use of the word “invasion.”
“As you know, Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion. It’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.,” Acosta said as he expressed his own personal opinion.
“They’re hundreds of miles of way though … That’s not an invasion,” Acosta insisted.
Trump pushed back hard. Some caravan migrants did, in fact, enter the U.S. illegally by climbing the border barrier.
The reporter also gave up any pretense of objectivity when he tweeted on Friday after his confrontation with the president, “Trump can’t answer the question about how he is making stuff up about what’s happening at the border.”
Trump can’t answer the question about how he is making stuff up about what’s happening at the border.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) February 15, 2019
Acosta also said during an interview on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” in January that there was no border “crisis” at all.
Check out more on this story in the video below: