President Donald Trump again lashed CNN correspondent Jim Acosta during a roundtable at the White House on Friday, mockingly thanking the reporter for his “sales pitch” for the president’s border wall.
Trump was referring to Acosta’s report Thursday showing that nothing was happening along an empty, quiet stretch of the Mexico-Texas border during Trump’s visit, which was intended to highlight the “invasion” there. Trump and some other Republicans mocked the report, pointing out that Acosta was walking along a border fence during his report.
“Good job. I appreciate your sales pitch,” Trump said Friday in a jab at Acosta.
When Acosta answered: “I didn’t see an invasion at the border,” Trump shot back: “Oh, you didn’t? That’s because we had a wall.” While there are about 650 miles of barriers along the southern border, construction of Trump’s border wall has not begun.
Acosta tweeted about Trump’s new claim of an invasion: “Fact check: False.”
Trump said during his comments that said the nation is “under siege” by immigrants attempting to cross the border. “We have a country that’s being invaded by criminals and drugs,” he said.
The president also insisted that his threat to declare a national emergency — and build a border wall without support from Congress or the majority of Americans — would be the “easy way out.” But “Congress should do this” — apparently meaning the House and Senate should agree to his demands. “It’s too simple,” he said.
“If they can’t do it, I will declare a national emergency. I have the absolute right to do it,” Trump added.
But Trump appeared to back further away from his threat to declare a national emergency in other comments.
“What we’re not looking to do right now is national emergency,” Trump said. “I’m not going to do it so fast.”
The president again repeated, without evidence, that many furloughed federal workers support his government shutdown and going without pay until he gets $5.7 billion for his border wall.