The disturbing results of President Donald Trump’s feud with CNN reporter Jim Acosta made themselves clear at his Tampa Bay, Florida, rally this afternoon.
When Acosta strode out to do his pre-rally previews, Trump’s hooting and baying fans immediately began booing, screaming “traitor” and “liar!” at him.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) July 31, 2018
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They even began a huge chant of “CNN SUCKS” that threatened to drown out the newsman himself.
— Octavio Jones (@OctavioJones) July 31, 2018
The president has singled out Jim Acosta in particular as a whipping boy in his war against the media.
Acosta and the President have clashed on multiple occasions in the past, to the point that the president now regularly calls him out on Twitter by name as part of his obsessive feud with CNN, which he despises for sending reporters to ask him “tough” questions and for blanketing the airwaves with coverage of his mistakes, his ethics violations, his extramarital affair scandals, his constant lies to the American people and his appalling policy decisions.
Just last week, a White House staffer waiting in the wings quickly moved in to intercept Acosta, literally shouting him down and verbally kicking him out of the scrum of reporters while Trump and the Italian Prime Minister sat and watched in uncomfortable silence.
Prior to that, it was revealed that President Trump had “repeatedly” asked his aides if he could outright ban certain reporters, like Acosta, from the press pool entirely.
The hateful, hungry anger emanating from the crowd and directed at Acosta is deeply disturbing to behold, especially considering the ominous threats of violence against that press that the President invoked and then blamed on the media themselves during Sunday’s Twitter rant. The feeling that it’s only a matter of time until a dangerous line is crossed is palpable — and even worse, the president revels in it.