Acosta was reportedly waiting in the press area at the rally in West Columbia, where the president was about to campaign for the state’s Republican Gov. Henry McMaster. But before Trump arrived, attendees holding signs reading “CNN fake news” began chanting for the reporter to leave the venue. At one point, a woman pointed at the journalist, repeating “Take him out” and urging her fellow rally-goers to heckle him.
Acosta attempted to shake the woman’s hand, telling her he had a right to cover the event. He then said that he respected the United States as the woman waved her arms at him.
“No! You do not respect it,” the woman yelled.
Acosta later addressed the event on CNN.
“While we have had people come up to us and be nice, I did have an elderly woman come up to me just a short while ago,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “She came up to me and said that we at CNN should get the ‘f’ out of this auditorium. She then turned to the crowd and whipped them up into a frenzy.”
He continued: “We are here to do our jobs and report the news and report on this rally, and we’re not going anywhere.”
Later in the evening, Trump began his speech on a familiar note, attacking the press and calling media outlets gathered at the rally “fake news,” a taunt that drew raucous boos and jeers.
“The enemy, the enemy of the people I call ’em,” the president said of the media.
Despite his continued attacks on CNN, he appeared to set his sights on a new target following an exchange of barbs with late-night host Jimmy Fallon this week. “NBC is worse actually than CNN,” Trump quipped.
Acosta has often earned the ire of the president and other White House officials, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, over the past year. Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, recently called for the journalist’s press credentials to be suspended after Acosta shouted questions at Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a summit in Singapore earlier this month.
“Dear Brad.. dictatorships take away press credentials,” Acosta fired back on Twitter. “Not democracies.”