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CNN’s Acosta claims Trump’s criticism of him is “an act”

CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta suggested Friday that President Trump attacks him for publicity and they’re all part of his “reality TV show contrived melodrama” to advance his political career.

Background: President Trump and Acosta have clashed many times during contentions news conferences and at one point, the White House even pulled Acosta’s press pass which gave him access to the White House grounds. While the president has taken some heat for labeling the media “the enemy of the people,” Acosta has been slammed for becoming “an actor in his own story,” The Atlantic’s Todd Purdum wrote.

The story: Acosta appeared on the Canadian news show “The Agenda with Steve Paikin,” on Friday where he discussed his book, titled “Enemy of the People.” In the book, he wrote that one of the president’s aides reached out to him and said that the president sees him as “very professional.” The exchange took place after a press conference in February of 2017 where President Trump referred to him as “fake news.”

Acosta’s remarks: “After the press conference was over, I got a call from one of his top aides, Hope Hicks, and she said to me on the phone, ‘Jim, I just want you to know the president thought you were very professional today and said Jim gets it.’ I thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute, the president just referred to me as very fake news five minutes ago and now he’s saying I’m professional and I get it?’ I don’t know what’s going on here, am I in the twilight zone?’”

“I talked to a number of his aides and they basically explained, ‘Jim, this is an act, he doesn’t really mean it’ and so on. I’m not in on the act; we’re not a part of some reality TV show contrived melodrama that he’s trying to put out there to prop up his political prospects.”