Donald Trump sparred with CNN’s Jim Acosta and another reporter Friday after they questioned whether he is “concocting” an emergency at the border.
“There is a lot of Department of Homeland Security data that shows border crossings at a near-record low and shows undocumented immigrants committing crime at lower level than native born Americans," said Acosta, who is CNN’s chief White House correspondent.
“You don’t really believe that. Do you really believe that?” Trump shot back, cutting his frequent nemesis off.
“I believe in facts and statistics,” the reporter answered before pivoting to asking the president to address criticism that he has “manufactured” the severity of his declared emergency at the border.
“Your question is a very political one, because you have an agenda,” Trump replied. “You’re CNN. You’re fake news. You have an agenda. The numbers you gave are wrong.”
He continued: “Take a look at our federal prison population. See how many of them percentage wise are illegal aliens. Just see. Go ahead and see. It’s a fake question.”
Trump then turned to another reporter Brian Karem, a CNN analyst, who attempted to follow up on his colleague’s questioning, again asking Trump to explain the border-crime statistics behind his declared emergency.
“You defined crime reporting statistics, numbers from border patrol, and this government show that the amount of illegal immigrants are down there is non-violence on the border,” Karem asked, before getting cut off by the president.
“Two weeks ago, 26 people were killed and identified at the border a mile away from where I went,” Trump exclaimed, alluding to his trip to Texas last month.
Karem, who covered Trump’s trip to the Rio Grande area, pressed further and asked the president to clarify what he “bases his facts on.”
Instead of answering the question, Trump demanded Karem sit down.
“Sit down. Sit down. Sit down. You get one question,” Trump said, growing frustrated by repeatedly being asked to explain his logic. “I get my numbers from a lot of sources like Homeland Security primarily, and the numbers I have from Homeland Security are a disaster.”
Last year, following a similar spat at a White House press conference, Acosta’s press pass was temporarily revoked before it was reinstated by a judge following a CNN lawsuit against Trump.