CNN’s Acosta spars with Sanders over Trump comments on anti-Semitism, Democrats

March 12, 2019

CNN’s Jim Acosta attacked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders over allegations of growing anti-Semitism within the Democratic party on Monday.

As he often does, Acosta played the role of progressive activist as he came to the defense of Democrats, fending off accusations that hatred of Jews is rising within their caucus. “Democrats don’t hate Jewish people. That’s just silly. It’s not true,” Acosta said.

Acosta attacks Sanders on anti-Semitism

President Trump has hit the Democrats hard over the controversy, claiming Monday that Democrats were fleeing the party in a so-called “Jexodus”, and according to a leaked report told Republican donors on Friday that Democrats “hate Jewish people.” This comes after Trump said Democrats are “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish” last week. Democrats insist that Trump is lying, and in the first White House press briefing in 42 days Monday, their allies in the media challenged Sanders on the claim.

ABC reporter Jonathan Karl and NBC’s Hallie Jackson both asked Sanders whether Trump really thinks that Democrats “hate Jews,” prompting Sanders to reply indirectly that “Democrats have had a number of opportunities to condemn specific comments and have refused to do that.”

Acosta didn’t waste an opportunity to ding Trump’s “divisive” rhetoric when his turn came, saying: “Just to get back to [Karl] and his questions about the president’s comments about Democrats and Jewish people. Isn’t that kind of rhetoric just sort of beneath everybody?” Acosta asked. “Do you think that the president has thought at all going into this 2020 campaign that the rhetoric just needs to be lowered, whether it’s talking about Democrats, the media, immigrants. Or should we just plan on hearing the president use the same kind of language that we heard in 2016 and all through the first couple years of his administration?”

Sanders responded that it was a “shame” that Democrats have embraced late-term abortion in unison but could not bring their caucus together to resolutely condemn Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for her anti-Semitic comments. Democrats initially planned to vote on a resolution last week condemning anti-Semitism but ultimately ended up passing a watered-down version that rejected all forms of hate.

“The president has been clear on [his support for] the people and the community of Israel,” Sanders said.

“You’re saying something that’s just patently untrue,” Acosta answered, referring to Trump’s remarks. “Democrats don’t hate Jewish people. That’s just silly. It’s not true.”

“I think they should call out their members by name and we’ve made that clear,” Sanders said.

Watch below:

CNN’s Acosta Debates Whether Dems Hates Jews With Sarah Sanders

CNN’s Acosta Debates Whether Dems Hates Jews With Sarah Sanders

Acosta acting up again

As he often does, Acosta used the prompt to continue riffing on familiar anti-Trump motifs. After Sanders moved to call on the next reporter, Acosta continued speaking, bringing up Trump’s comments after the 2017 Charlottesville riot and accusing Trump of “essentially suggesting that there were very fine people in the Nazis.”

Sanders didn’t let that insinuation slide either. “That’s not at all what the president was stating,” she replied. “The president has been incredibly clear on consistently and repeatedly condemning hatred, bigotry and racism in all of its forms, whether it’s in America or anywhere else. To say otherwise is simply untrue.”

Acosta is known for his aggressive, some say rude, behavior in the press briefing room. He frequently argues with Trump and Sanders, often insinuating that Trump is dividing the country with lies about immigrants and the “Fake News” media. He famously was the center of controversy after an argument with Trump in a contentious November press briefing that got his press pass revoked for a short time.

Democrats have been embroiled in controversy over Omar’s allegedly anti-Semitic comments, including recent comments that pro-Israel politicians have an “allegiance to a foreign country.” The controversy has exposed a growing fissure between the party’s leadership and the progressive caucus as Republicans accuse the Democrats of embracing anti-Semitism with their failure to resolutely condemn Omar last week.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.