Many Americans may be desensitized to President Donald Trump’s frequent ire toward the press by now, but the hatred for so-called “fake news” networks and for reporters that Trump has sown in his supporters since the start of his campaign becomes disturbingly clear at the president’s rallies.
This was the case at Trump’s rally in Tampa, Florida Tuesday night, where a mass of Trump supporters heckled CNN’s Jim Acosta with taunts of “traitor” and “liar” as he stood on a podium to cover the rally for CNN. Eventually, Acosta could hardly hear his own voice.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) July 31, 2018
Acosta’s reaction to the ravenous supporters, however, was that of an honorable journalist seeking truth: He engaged them and faced their questions.
This stands in stark contrast to the current administration, who only held three White House Press Briefings last month and whose leader refused sixteen questions in six days. Acosta himself said he took more questions at the rally than the president had taken from the press.
It was great chatting with all the Trump supporters in Tampa tonight. I took more questions from them than the president has taken from the press lately.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 1, 2018
He shared similar sentiments during the rally with CNN News Anchor Anderson Cooper:
And it’s amazing, Anderson. You’re hearing some of the insults being hurled at us right now. I’ve been talking to some of these folks this evening, even though they’re being pretty negative towards us right now. I answered a bunch of questions from some of these Trump supporters here about all sorts of things, a lot more questions than the President has taken from us in recent days, Anderson.
His integrity did not go unnoticed.
— Christopher Heath (@CHeathWFTV) August 1, 2018
— Emily Goodin (@Emilylgoodin) July 31, 2018
Wow! @Acosta You have my deepest respect! There is no way I would want to be in such a hostile environment like #TrumpTampa Rally! You do it with so much professional! ✌🏼 #forfactssake I stand with the #FreePress #FactsMatter #MediaMatters #SupportFreePress #FreeSpeech #Resist
— Peacemomma ✌🏼 (@peacemomma67) August 1, 2018
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) August 1, 2018
The aggression of the supporters, however, is an example of what can happen when a president focuses his energy on constructing an enemy rather than uniting a country.