Never one to mince words, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich needed one short sentence to summarize his opinion of CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s confrontational exchange with President-elect Donald Trump at Wednesday’s press conference.
“The reporter was an idiot,” Gingrich told TMZ Thursday. “Trump pointed out he was an idiot.”
“Most people in the country thought he was an idiot,” Gingrich added. “What went wrong? I thought from Trump’s standpoint it was fine.”
On Wednesday, Acosta attempted to confront Trump during the media event at Trump Tower. Trump was sharing his opinion about media coverage of unverified, salacious claims about him in an intelligence report that Trump has denied when Acosta spoke up.
“Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?” Acosta said.
“Not you,” Trump said. “Your organization is terrible.”
“You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?” Acosta then said.
“Don’t be rude,” Trump replied. “I’m not going to give you a question. I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news!”
Gingrich suggested incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer should make Acosta cool his heels with a temporary ban.
“I’m hoping Spicer will simply ban Acosta for 60 days, like hockey, where you bench somebody. Acosta needs to be benched for a couple of weeks,” he said.
“In baseball, hockey, basketball, if certain players behave inappropriately, you kick them out of the game,” Gingrich had said about the same incident Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s Hannity.
“I think the way Acosta behaved for CNN, have him suspended for 60 days. Send someone else,” Gingrich said.
The goal should be to ensure reporters know there are limits, he said.
“When you get beyond those limits, you ain’t going to be there,” the former speaker said. “They shouldn’t put up with this. It’s bad for the country.”
Also on Hannity, Gingrich said Trump “is deliberately trying to shrink and isolate CNN, and CNN is working hard to be worthy of that.”
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