In The Enemy of the People, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta writes that after an early confrontation, close Trump aide Hope Hicks called him to say the president wanted him to know he was “very professional today”.
“He said, ‘Jim gets it’,” Hicks is quoted as saying.
Trump, Acosta writes, had just called the reporter “fake news” and “very fake news” after being asked about Russian election interference at a press conference in February 2017.
“When he called us ‘fake news’,” Acosta writes, “it was, in his mind, an act.”
The incident occurred amid the opening shots in a rapidly escalating war that now sees fierce national debate over Trump’s attacks on mainstream mediaand what they mean for press safety and US democracy itself.
Acosta’s book, subtitled A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America, will be published on 11 June. The Guardian obtained a copy.
True to the style of Washington political reporting often complained about by Trump, Acosta mostly uses unnamed sources, many of whom are said to have spoken over social drinks. They are often blunt in their assessment of their boss. A “senior White House official” tells Acosta: “The president’s insane.” A “former White House national security official” says staffers were not sure the president had not been “compromised” by Russia.