White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders needled frequent sparring parter Jim Acosta over CNN's ratings in an exchange at Thursday's press briefing, saying if President Donald Trump watched CNN its numbers would go up.
Pointing to Trump's tweet Thursday morning casting doubt on reauthorization of the FISA surveillance program his own administration supported, Acosta asked about Trump's reported habit of watching "Fox and Friends," the conservative Fox News morning show, and often sending tweets in response to the segments on the program.
"I'm sure you're disappointed that he's not watching CNN," Sanders said.
"I think he watches a lot of CNN, if you don't mind me saying," Acosta said.
"I don't think that's true. Your numbers would be higher," Sanders said, receiving an "ohhh" from the rest of the press corps.
"They're actually better than they've been in a long time," Acosta replied, smiling.
Trump reportedly watches hours of cable news at the White House and has often railed against CNN as "fake news" and sent out numerous tweets blasting the network's coverage.
Regarding FISA, Sanders said Americans should not have their rights and liberties abused but felt they should be protected.
"That's why he supports the 702 but has concern with FISA more generally," she said.
After Trump's initial tweet questioning the program, he wrote another one two hours later saying he supported reauthorization of the FISA program. The House passed the reauthorization later that morning.