- CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, was heckled at a campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina, on Monday.
- Acosta said President Donald Trump’s supporters whipped one another up “into a frenzy” and began shouting at him and CNN crew members.
- At the same time, some crowd members reportedly asked him for autographs and selfies.
CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, recalled finding himself in a “twilight zone” as he was targeted with boos and jeers from people who attended a campaign rally held Monday by President Donald Trump in West Columbia, South Carolina.
“When I was at this rally tonight, people were coming up to me and saying: ‘Why are you mean to President Trump? Why are you mean to Sarah Sanders?'” Acosta told the CNN anchor Don Lemon on Monday night.
Acosta is no stranger to Trump’s ire and has frequently butted heads with the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in daily press briefings.
According to the CNN correspondent, Trump supporters, including a woman who he said whipped the crowd “into a frenzy,” accosted him by shouting and taunting.
“An elderly woman came up to me and said that I needed to get the ‘eff’ out,” Acosta said. “And then she turned to the crowd and whipped them all into a frenzy and they were saying, ‘Go home Jim, CNN sucks, fake news,’ and so on. And to me, it’s sort of like, really? This is civility?”
Video footage on social media captured the scene:
Trump supporter berates @CNN reporter @Acosta at SC rally and the crowd starts chanting “Go home, Jim!” Ironically, the sign on the woman’s shirt says, “Thank you for keeping us safe” (from @seannaadcox_pc) pic.twitter.com/dgopBaLXOt
— Andy Shain (@AndyShain) June 25, 2018
“It’s sort of like being beamed into the twilight zone, Don, covering a political rally where your fellow Americans -you stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, you do the national anthem, and then they all turn on you and start screaming at you like this. It’s just unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and it’s quite startling.”
At one point, however, rally goers approached Acosta and asked for autographs and selfies, according to BuzzFeed News. Acosta reportedly obliged and signed campaign memorabilia including a hat with Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
“I think it helps calm them down,” Acosta said, according to BuzzFeed News. “If I were to say no, it could make it more venomous.”
Another act of civility appeared to bridge the divide between Acosta and the crowd. After an elderly woman at the rally was in need of a chair, Acosta reportedly gave up his seat:
A moment of civility: As POTUS is delayed due to weather, @CNN’ s @Acosta gave up his chair to an elderly Trump supporter. She was so appreciative that she wanted her photo taken with him. Her son said to Jim, “You’re a good man. Your mama raised you right.” #SCGov pic.twitter.com/0vXaCgjugE
— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) June 25, 2018
“We did have a civil exchange,” Acosta later said on CNN. “I do think it’s possible for us to have civility in this society, Don, but we all have to work on it. Press secretaries, presidents, journalists, and people who go to these rallies as well.”
Acosta said many of those in the crowd were civil, while many became galvanised and “whipped up.”
“When I go to these Trump rallies, when I listen to the president speak to these supporters out there at these rallies, obviously, many of them are well-intentioned,” Acosta said. “They’re good, patriotic Americans. But the frenzy that people get whipped up to at these events, it’s astonishing.”
“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in my entire career covering politics,” Acosta said. “And I think at times, it is scary and we saw some of that tonight.”
The Fox News commentator Sean Hannity aired footage of Acosta’s hecklers during his program and called the moment “priceless.”
“Ouch, that hurts,” Hannity, an ally of Trump, said on Monday night. “Best newscast they ever did, actually.”
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