It all started after the prominent journalist clung, Jim Acosta, to the microphone and persisted with questions about the president’s views on a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the US border.
Trump replied: “No, I want them to come into the country. But they have to come in legally.”
Acosta persisted, saying: “They are hundreds of miles away. That is not an invasion.”
At that point, the president snapped.
“Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be higher,” Trump said.
As the reporter continued, Trump declared: “That’s enough, put down the mic” and walked away from his own podium, as if leaving.
The intern attempted to grab the microphone from Acosta, who nevertheless tried to shout out one last question.
Waving his finger, Trump berated him.
“I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN,” he said.
When NBC reporter Peter Alexander took the mic for the next question, he defended Acosta as a “diligent reporter” — earning Trump’s ire.
“I’m not a fan of yours either. To be honest. You aren’t the best,” he said.
Looking back at Acosta, who again rose up in his own defence, Trump added: “When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”
In response, CNN said “this president’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far,” in a statement.
“They are not only dangerous, but they are also disturbingly un-American.”
“The White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders hours later, referring to Acosta, who then tweeted that he had been denied White House entry.