Kimmel Adores Acosta for ‘Tormenting’ Trump: ‘I Love it, I Can’t Get Enough of It’

During a fawning interview with CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta on Wednesday night, aired early Thursday morning, ABC’s left-wing late night host Jimmy Kimmel repeatedly heaped praise on the reporter for his notorious hostility toward the Trump administration.

“He is a persistent thorn in the flabby underbelly of the Trump administration. From CNN, please welcome Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta,” Kimmel proclaimed as Acosta walked out to cheers and applause from the liberal audience. The host then prompted more cheers as he hailed the cable correspondent for his biased reporting against Trump: “By the way, I love watching you bust their balls. I love it, I can’t get enough of it.”

Soaking in the adulation, Acosta promised: “I’ll do it more often.”

 

 

“Are you the only reporter who’s ever been kicked out of a press situation by the President of the United States?,” Kimmel wondered. Acosta proudly replied: “I think so. You know, I wear it as a badge of honor.” Kimmel gushed: “You should wear it as a badge.” CNN’s lead Trump antagonist happily declared: “I’m hated by the best people, or the worst people....But you know, as FDR once said, ‘I welcome their hatred.’”

Acosta then tried his hand at comedy by making this laughable assertion: “Listen, when I covered Barack Obama, I was just as tough on him. People might not believe that.” Kimmel claimed: “They didn’t like you either.”

Fretting that Acosta wasn’t getting enough air time during the daily White House press briefings, Kimmel asked: “Do you feel like, when you’re in the room, like they don’t call on you? Because they do call on certain reporters. And do they try to avoid you, like pretend you’re not there?”

The reporter complained: “I’m like the Island of Misfit Toys from the old Rudolph cartoon. They do, do that. Sean Spicer was the master....where he wouldn’t call on me during the briefings.”

Acosta then touted his tactic for getting more attention:

And so what I would do at the very end of the briefing, I would wait, because I know CNN is still rolling live on the press briefing, and I would shout out a question.

And when Trump was speculating that perhaps he had tapes of, you know, him and Jim Comey talking about wiretapping at Trump Tower or whatever. I would yell at Sean, “Where are the tapes?! Where are the tapes?!” And then tweet out a “#WhereAreTheTapes?” Just to let them know, you know, listen, you can skip over us, but we’re still going to ask these questions.

Acosta’s fragile ego has been wounded before, with the aggrieved correspondent taking to social media to whine about not being called on.

Later in the exchange, Kimmel wondered if Acosta had any sympathy for the White House communications team: “Do you ever feel sorry for Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders, for having to be in that spot defending things that they must know some of these things are either not true or nonsensical?”

Acosta ranted:

My sense of it is, is that, listen, they’ve signed up for this. And if they’re going to lie to the American people, those lies come with consequences. And it’s our job – and listen, they can play all the games that they want and not call on me, there’s going to be somebody else who’s going to come in. I have other colleagues in the briefing room who ask hard questions as well. And, you know, we’re just not going to stop.

Wrapping up the segment, Kimmel hoped Acosta would get a chance to interrogate the President: “Will there ever be a scenario where you get to interview the President one on one?” Acosta admitted that it was unlikely: “I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen.”

Kimmel then tried to goad Trump: “Why, you think he’s scared to sit down with you one on one?...Do you dare the President to sit down and do an interview with you?” Acosta obliged: “I dare him to sit down for an interview with me.” Then, despite all the evidence to the contrary, he argued that he could be objective: “And you know, listen, you know, it’s not as if we’re going to go in there, you know, kamikaze, you know, ramming speed. You know, we would do what we always do, which is do the news.”

Kimmel ended the interview the way he began it, by applauding Acosta: “Well, I’m enjoying you tormenting them, I will say that. It’s a small consolation, it really is.”

Rather than object to the characterization of him “tormenting” the administration, Acosta simply responded: “It’s a living, it pays the bills.”

Here are excerpts of the exchange aired early on the morning of May 17:

12:22 AM ET

(...)

JIMMY KIMMEL: He is a persistent thorn in the flabby underbelly of the Trump administration. From CNN, please welcome Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. [Cheers and applause] You’re a lot more popular here than the White House for sure.

JIM ACOSTA: I guess so. Can I stay longer?

KIMMEL: Yes, you can. By the way, I love watching you bust their balls. I love it, I can’t get enough of it. [Cheers and applause]

ACOSTA: I’ll do it more often.

KIMMEL: Are you the only reporter who’s ever been kicked out of a press situation by the President of the United States?

ACOSTA: I think so. You know, I wear it as a badge of honor.

KIMMEL: You should wear it as a badge.

ACOSTA: I’m hated by the best people, or the worst people.

KIMMEL: Are you their least favorite of all?

ACOSTA: Probably. But you know, as FDR once said, “I welcome their hatred.”

KIMMEL: You do?

ACOSTA: I do. Listen, when I covered Barack Obama, I was just as tough on him. People might not believe that.

KIMMEL: They didn’t like you either.

ACOSTA: They didn’t like me either.

KIMMEL: You’re universally disliked.

ACOSTA: I am, yes.

KIMMEL: Everywhere you go.

(...)

KIMMEL: It is funny that your last name is Acosta and you’re constantly accosting people. It’s almost like you were born to do this.

ACOSTA: It’s true, yes.

(...)

KIMMEL: There must be – there must be moments, maybe even every day, where you go, “Wow, I can’t believe that this is what I’m covering today.”  

ACOSTA: Yeah.

KIMMEL: What moment has stood out above all others in that respect?

ACOSTA: Well, you played that clip. I mean, when the President of the United States calls you fake news to your face at a press conference, the one and only press conference he had during the transition, that was pretty surreal to me. But remember, the question I wanted to ask at that press conference at the time was, “Did you or your campaign have contacts with the Russians before the election?” As it turns out, that question was not fake news.

KIMMEL: So in a way, oh, yeah, it turns out it wasn’t fake news.

ACOSTA: Turns out it wasn’t, no. Pretty real, actually.

KIMMEL: Yeah, right. [Cheers and applause]

Do you feel like, when you’re in the room, like they don’t call on you? Because they do call on certain reporters. And do they try to avoid you, like pretend you’re not there?

ACOSTA: I’m like the Island of Misfit Toys from the old Rudolph cartoon. They do, do that. Sean Spicer was the master. Remember, he turned off the briefing room cameras for a while. And there were these other hijinks where he wouldn’t call on me during the briefings. And so what I would do at the very end of the briefing, I would wait, because I know CNN is still rolling live on the press briefing, and I would shout out a question.

And when Trump was speculating that perhaps he had tapes of, you know, him and Jim Comey talking about wiretapping at Trump Tower or whatever. I would yell at Sean, “Where are the tapes?! Where are the tapes?!” And then tweet out a “#WhereAreTheTapes?” Just to let them know, you know, listen, you can skip over us, but we’re still going to ask these questions.

KIMMEL: What was the moment when you realized – I mean, I know, you know, we suspected that there would be a lot of nonsense going into this – but where you realized, like, oh, this is going to be very different?

ACOSTA: I mean, you know, listen, during the campaign, you know, he would call us “the disgusting news media,” “the dishonest news media,” “scum,” “liars,” “thieves,” “criminals,” and so on.

KIMMEL: But that just means he has a crush on you. [Laughter]

ACOSTA: That is. There was one press conference where he called me “a real beauty.” And I thought, what’s happening here? Is this a good thing, is this a bad thing?

KIMMEL: No, it’s not a good thing.

ACOSTA: It’s not a good thing, no. But you know, listen, they can’t intimidate us.

(...)

KIMMEL: Do you ever feel sorry for Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders, for having to be in that spot defending things that they must know some of these things are either not true or nonsensical?

ACOSTA: I mean, this is a – it’s a serious question. I mean, it’s one of those questions where I could throw out a zinger and go after Sean. My sense of it is, is that, listen, they’ve signed up for this. And if they’re going to lie to the American people, those lies come with consequences. And it’s our job – and listen, they can play all the games that they want and not call on me, there’s going to be somebody else who’s going to come in. I have other colleagues in the briefing room who ask hard questions as well. And, you know, we’re just not going to stop.

(...)

KIMMEL: Will there ever be a scenario where you get to interview the President one on one?

ACOSTA: I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen. I don’t want to blow up the world.

KIMMEL: Why, you think he’s scared to sit down with you one on one?

ACOSTA: You know, listen, you know, I was with Sam Donaldson the other day. I met Sam Donaldson, first time I’d ever met him.

KIMMEL: Really, wow.

ACOSTA: The lifetime White House correspondent for ABC, legendary reporter.

KIMMEL: Sure.

ACOSTA: And you know, somebody asked him, “If you were to sit down with the President, what would you ask?” And he said, “I would just ask the questions of the day.” Which is what I would do. If I were to sit down with the President, do an interview, I’d ask him the questions of the day.

KIMMEL: Do you dare the President to sit down and do an interview with you?

ACOSTA: I dare him to sit down for an interview with me. And you know, listen, you know, it’s not as if we’re going to go in there, you know, kamikaze, you know, ramming speed. You know, we would do what we always do, which is do the news.

KIMMEL: Alright. Well, I’m enjoying you tormenting them, I will say that. It’s a small consolation, it really is.

ACOSTA: It’s a living, it pays the bills.

KIMMEL: Jim Acosta everyone, from CNN. [Cheers and applause] Watch his White House coverage everyday on CNN.


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