Acosta: I Wrote My Book for Republicans

June 13, 2019

CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta said he wrote his new book The Enemy of the People in part "for the Republicans" during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

As he did in his book discussing his hostile relationship with the White House, Acosta connected President Donald Trump's anti-media rhetoric to the threats facing journalists, such as the Trump supporter who sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN last year.

Hewitt asked Acosta who he blamed for James Hodgkinson, a Bernie Sanders supporter who shot at Republicans practicing baseball two years ago and nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise (R., La.) and several others.

"It's an excellent question," Acosta said. "I blame this climate that we're in right now in this country. We're at each other's throats, and as I write at the end of the book ... We've just got to get back to a place where he have more faith in one another."

"We're all on the same team," Acosta added.

"Some folks may accuse me of writing this book for the Resistance," he said. "I'll tell you, if you read this book, I'm writing this book also for the Republicans, because I really feel deep down in my heart that Republicans are just as patriotic as everybody else, and they want a country handed off to the next generation that is just as strong as the one they inherited."

Hewitt told Acosta he too objected to Trump's use of the term "enemy of the people" in referring to the media, and Acosta said he no longer felt Trump's hostility to the press was an act. As he's said numerous times before, Acosta said the "hostility" from the White House had led to Trump supporters making some journalists feel endangered.

"There are reporters and anchors who cover this president who have received a lot of death threats and threatening messages, and one of the overarching messages in this book is this has to stop," he said.

Asked by Hewitt if he felt center-right reporters faced the same kind of threats as those viewed as center-left, Acosta said he didn't know before pivoting back to threats against him and discussing the pipe bombs.

"Reporters should not have to have bodyguards when they go to cover Trump rallies," Acosta said. "This has gotten out of control."

Perhaps no member of the press is more representative of the antagonistic relationship between Trump and the media than Acosta, who has received equal parts praise and criticism for his showy style and dramatic questioning. Acosta had his press pass revoked in November after he refused to give up the microphone at a press conference where Trump called him a "rude, terrible person." He had it returned after challenging the revocation in court.

Acosta frequently crosses over from reporting into editorializing on the air, such as when he criticized Kim Kardashian West for coming to the White House to advocate for criminal justice reform or suggested journalists should go chant they weren't the enemy of the people on Pennsylvania Avenue.

He writes in the book: "Neutrality for the sake of neutrality doesn’t really serve us in the age of Trump."