CNN’s Jim Acosta had to think on his feet during a live spot at the rally of President Donald Trump, after the crowd behind him started insulting his network.
In a demonstration of the perils of live broadcasting, the network’s chief White House correspondent was standing at the packed event—at which people did not socially distance and many were not wearing masks—in Sanford, Florida, summing up the coming days for Trump.
Following a package which outlined the task that Trump faces in an election race in which he is trailing by 13 points in some polls, Acosta was describing how after the rally, the president would head to Pennsylvania, and then Iowa and North Carolina for other events.
“Pennsylvania is obviously a critical battleground state but Iowa and North Carolina are really states that should be in the bag for President Trump right now, that is an indication as to how much trouble he is in politically right now,” Acosta said.
As he was speaking to anchor Wolf Blitzer, members of the crowd started chanting “CNN sucks,” a popular refrain from Trump rallies, stirred up in part by Trump’s beef with some media outlets that he has often decried as “fake news.”
The chant prompted Acosta to acknowledge the animus being expressed towards his network. He responded, “As this crowd is chanting that there are members of the press here who suck, I should also point out what also sucks—getting the coronavirus.”
Acosta has verbally sparred with Trump and was temporarily barred from the White House in November 2018 after he was accused of trying to keep control of a microphone during a press conference with the president.
Trump took to the stage on Monday, boasting to the crowd that he felt “immune” one week after his discharge from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following his coronavirus diagnosis. On Monday, the president’s physician Dr. Sean Conley said that Trump had tested negative for the disease.
Falsely describing an experimental treatment he received as a “cure” for the virus, Trump said: “Now they say I’m immune. I feel so powerful. I’ll walk in there. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience,” Trump told the crowd.
Justifying his public appearance, he said “when you’re the president, you can’t lock yourself in the basement.”
“I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, just give you a big fat kiss,” he added. Newsweek has contacted the Trump campaign for comment.
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