CNN's Jim Acosta talked about covering the Trump administration and how he is treated by Trump supporters in an interview with CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert broadcasted Wednesday night. Acosta said he and other reporters are "fed up" with the treatment they are receiving.
"You know, we're all fed up with the treatment that we're receiving. And I'm not the only one to speak out about this."
"But you're famous for it because you particularly get picked on by him and you particularly push back. Why do you think you have that relationship with him?" Colbert asked his guest.
"This was going on during the campaign," Acosta said. "He referred to us as the disgusting news media, the dishonest news media. Liars, scum, and thieves, and so on. And then at that infamous press conference on January 11th 2017, 9 days before he became president of the United States, he would not take a question from me, from CNN, about the dossier and about this intelligence assessment that the intelligence community was getting on the incoming president that you might be compromised with this information that the Russians have and he would not take the question and he said, 'You're fake news.' And, to me, when you insult our news organization when you call us 'fake news,' the way I look at it, hey, that's calling on me for a question. The same thing happened in Britain a few weeks ago when he called us fake news at the press conference with the British Prime Minister right in front of us. He calls us fake news, he calls us fake news. I look at that as he is calling on me for a question."
"So I am going to push back," Acosta added.
Acosta said he thought it was his "mission in life" to ask Trump about the dossier. He also said that he's "not supposed to be the story" and that is not why he is out there while he appeared on a major late-night program.
He then took a shot at the president's policies on immigration and telling "lie after lie."
"Look, my opinion is I'm allowed to care about this country just as much as anybody else," he said. "And if you think that you know, you can take children away from their parents on the border and put them in cages, if you think you can demonize immigrants and call them rapists and criminals, if you think that you can distort the sense of reality that we all have on a daily basis by telling lie after lie and falsehood after falsehood and not face any hard questions, then I think you're just not living in the same United States of America that I live in."
"I thought you were going to say, 'you might be Donald Trump,'" Colbert quipped.
Acosta said people get a "twisted" and "warped" sense of "what we do," speaking on behalf of reporters," by people who do Trump's "bidding." Acosta said it is "not relevant" whether he likes Trump or not but said he thought the president's behavior is "more newsworthy than our coverage."
Acosta also said that it is false then-candidate Trump was "wiretapped" by President Obama and his administration's intel community.
"We have had to be fact checkers in real time and try to tell the truth in real time," Acosta said to applause. "When the president says, 'Barack Obama wiretapped me at Trump Tower.' Not true. When he says that millions of people, undocumented people voted in the election, that's why I lost the popular vote. That's not true. You know, his political career was built, the foundation of his political career was built on a lie that Barack Obama was not born in this country. And so, listen, you know these are tough times. There are some tough questions to be asked."
Acosta talked about his relationship with the cabal of "fellow journalists" and how they should handle Trump.
"I don't think we do ourselves any good, Stephen, if we shy away from these hard questions. And, you know, my goodness, the way I look at it is-- and this is the debate I have with my fellow journalists when we talk about this -- what if we just did nothing? Do we just sit back and do nothing in the face of that?" he asked.
He then talked about his interactions with Trump supporters at MAGA rallies.
"We push back on these falsehoods on a daily basis, and this is why there are a lot of folks who support the president who are very upset with us right now because they take that in and see it as we're bashing the president all day long. I mean, listen, are we supposed to do the news and not fact check the president when he is obviously just telling whoppers one after another," he said.
Acosta talked about the infamous Tampa MAGA rally where he received widespread backlash from the crowd. He said it didn't feel like America. Fellow White House reporter April Ryan thought Acosta's life was in danger that night.
He described the Tampa MAGA event:
JIM ACOSTA, CNN: They'll ask me, 'why don't you report the good things he does?'
I said, 'Listen, we just talked about the jobs numbers last Friday. He had good jobs numbers last Friday.'
And they say, 'Oh, okay. Well, do you like the president?'
And I said, "That's not relevant. I don't have to like the president of the United States. He doesn't have to like me. We all have jobs to do.'
My sense of it, Stephen, is that a lot of these folks, they get their impression of what we do by watching other conservative outlets, they look at other conservative websites.
And these folks are focused on the coverage of the president's behavior more so than the president's behavior. To me, I think the president's behavior is more newsworthy than our coverage. But a lot of these folks out there, they're getting their sense of what we do twisted and warped by some people out there who just want to do the president's bidding.