President Donald Trump points to CNN’s Jim Acosta as he speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ORG XMIT: DCEV411(Photo: Evan Vucci, AP)President Donald Trump delivered a number of off-the-cuff, controversial remarks during a press conference Wednesday following midterm elections that saw Republicans keep control of the Senate but lose a majority in the House of Representatives to Democrats.Here are some of the most controversial, colorful or contentious moments: Clash with CNN’s Jim AcostaThe president clashed with CNN’s Jim Acosta when the reporter repeatedly tried to ask a follow-up question about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.“That’s enough,” Trump said repeatedly.When a White House staffer attempted to take the mic from Acosta, he yanked it back.”I’m not concerned about anything with the Russia investigation because it’s a hoax,” Trump said, cutting off Acosta’s question. “That’s enough. Put down the mic.”At one point, Trump left the lectern to criticize Acosta.”I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,” the president said, shaking a finger at Acosta. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”In response to one of Acosta’s earlier questions challenging Trump for calling the Central American migrant caravan an “invasion,” the president responded: “Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN. And if you did it well, you’re ratings would be much better.”‘That’s a racist question’When PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked if Trump’s declaration of being “a nationalist” was emboldening white nationalists across the country, Trump responded:“Why do I have among the highest poll numbers with African Americans? …Honestly, I mean, I know you have it written down and you’re going to tell me. Let me tell you, that’s a racist question.”On Lil JonWhen a reporter from Yahoo! News asked Trump about allegations that he has used the N-word before and that former ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ star and rapper Lil Jon said that Trump called him an “Uncle Tom,” Trump responded by saying he doesn’t know Lil Jon.The reporter reminded the president that Lil Jon was on the Apprentice, the NBC show that Trump starred in for more than a decade.“I don’t use racist remarks and, you know what, if I did you people, you would have known about it. I’ve been hearing there are tapes for years and years,” Trump said.CLOSE
Twitter’s having a field day after Trump denied knowing “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Lil Jon at the post-midterms press conference.
USA TODAY‘I retired Jeff Flake’When asked by a reporter whether retirements among Republican lawmakers hurt the party in the midterms, Trump cited the retirement of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, as a positive development.Trump: “In Jeff Flake’s case, it’s me, pure and simple. I retired him. I’m very proud of it. I did the country a great service.”’Mike, will you be my running mate?’More surprise than contentious, but in one moment Trump sought out Vice President Mike Pence when a reporter asked the president if he was going to keep Pence as his running mate in 2020.“Well, I haven’t asked him, but I hope so,” Trump said.”Where are you?” Trump asked as he looked around the East Room.Pence, sitting to Trump’s left, waved.”Mike, will you be my running mate?” Trump asked. “Stand up, Mike, please. Raise your right hand. No, I’m only kidding.”Pence nodded his consent.”Will you? Thank you. OK, good,” Trump said. “The answer is ‘yes.'”‘Say hello to Shinzo’Before a reporter from Japan could get off a trade-related question, Trump cut him off and asked: “Where are you from, please?””Japan,” the reporter answered.”Say hello to Shinzo,” Trump said, referring to Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe. “I’m sure he’s happy about tariffs on his cars.”As the reporter went on with his question, Trump said he couldn’t understand him.Trump said Abe is one of the people he’s “closest” with, “but I tell him all the time that Japan does not treat the United States fairly on trade.”
“They send in millions of cars at a very low tax, they don’t take our cars, and if they do they have a massive tax on the cars. And I’m not blaming Japan, I”m blaming the people that were in charge of the United States for allowing that to happen.”On revealing his tax returnsWhen asked if he would block a potential Democratic investigation of his tax returns, Trump said that they are already under audit and that “people wouldn’t understand them.”He said if the audit were finished he would “have an open mind” to releasing the tax returns.”But it’s big, and it’s complex and it’s probably feet-high. It’s a very complex instrument,” Trump said of the tax audit. “And I think that people wouldn’t understand it.”‘Warlike posture’When asked if he could work with Democrats even if they begin investigating him, Trump fired back: “No if they do that, then it’s just – all it is, is a warlike posture.” He then suggested he could begin investigating Democrats. “I think I know more than they know,” he said.On the future of Mueller probeAsked whether he would end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential elections, Trump said: “I could’ve ended it any time I wanted. I didn’t. There was no collusion. There was no anything.”When asked again about the Russia probe later in the briefing, Trump said it was a “disgrace” and “embarrassment” for the country and suggested he could put a stop to it and “fire everybody right now.””But I don’t want to stop it, because politically, I don’t like stopping it,” Trump said.”I let it just go on,” he said. “They’re wasting a lot of money, but I let it go on, because I don’t want to do that. But you’re right; I could end it right now. I could say, ‘That investigation is over.'”On polling, voter suppressionReporters shouted at the president with questions about voter suppression during the midterm elections. “Well, I’ll give you voter suppression,” Trump said. “Take a look at the CNN polls, how inaccurate they were. That’s called voter suppression.”On impeachmentTrump said people talking about impeachment are “sick” and that he had a “very warm conversation” Tuesday with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a likely candidate for Speaker of the House, and that she didn’t talk to him about impeachment. “What do you do? Do you impeach somebody because he created the greatest economic success in the history of our country?” Trump said. “‘Let’s impeach him because the country is so successful. Let’s impeach him.’”’Such a hostile media'”Sit down, please. Sit down!” Trump snapped at reporter April Ryan who tried to interject with a question but didn’t have the mic.“Excuse me,” Trump said. “I’m not responding to you.” When Ryan persisted, Trump asked her again to sit down. “Very hostile. It’s such a hostile media,” he said. “It’s so sad.”More: Trump fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions, names Matthew Whitaker as interim replacementMore: Who is Matthew Whitaker? Hawkeye football star and federal prosecutor becomes acting attorney generalMaureen Groppe, John Fritze and David Jackson contributed.Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/11/07/donald-trump-white-house-press-conference-jim-acosta-cnn-yamiche-alcindor-lil-jon-jeff-flake/1920911002/
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