The untold truth of Jim Acosta

Journalist and current CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta made a name for himself with his unique brand of truth-seeking. A reporter willing to shout out tough questions, Acosta saw his national profile rise significantly in the age President Trump, although his tactics are often galvanizing, even in the eyes of fellow journalists. "Mr. Acosta sometimes elicits eye-rolls from others in the White House press corps, who wonder if his aggressive questions are meant less to draw out information from Mr. Trump than to create a camera-ready spectacle," reported The New York Times.

Love him or hate him, Acosta will continue to attempt to speak truth to power even when he's heckled at a rally or insulted by President Trump. From grilling Obama over his handling of ISIS, to his battles with Trump that are must-see-television, to the White House revoking his press credentials "until further notice," here's the news on the untold truth of Jim Acosta. 

He's known for hard-hitting questions

When Jim Acosta is in the room with a microphone, you can count on him to ask the tough question. Former President Obama learned that all too well. During the G-20 summit in 2015 (per Newsweek), Obama spoke at length about the Syrian refugee crisis and asked the Muslims in the region to continue their fight against ISIS. Then Acosta stepped up. "A lot of Americans have this frustration that they see the United States has the greatest military in the world; it has the backing of nearly every other country in the world when it comes to taking on ISIS. I guess the question is, and if you'll forgive the language, but why can't we take out these bastards?" he asked. Obama, clearly frustrated, replied, "Well Jim, I just spent the last three questions answering that very question, so I don't know what more you want me to add."

During a joint press conference between Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro in 2016, Acosta (whose father fled Cuba) pressed Castro on his country's practice of taking political prisoners. Per Politico, Acosta addressed the leader in Spanish. Castro reportedly smirked "at Acosta's pronunciation" and acted as though the question wasn't meant for him. That reportedly prompted Obama to look at Castro in "disbelief" and say, "Excuse me … second one was to you."

He has a reputation for making it all about himself

Jim Acosta is a household name. Some of his critics believe that's by design. "As is his habit, Acosta doesn't ask questions — he makes accusations and argues," the New York Post said of the CNN journalist. Writing about Acosta's confrontation with Sarah Sanders over Trump's "enemy of the people" claim, The Atlantic said the journalist "reinforced the corrosive, cynical, and deeply dangerous feedback loop that has convinced Trump's most fervent supporters that his relentless brief against the press has merit." Even his fellow reporters at the press conference appeared to understand this. "Those watching the exchange on television would have noticed the faces of Mr. Acosta's fellow correspondents," The New York Times reported, "some watching with curiosity and others averting their gaze."

Infamous for his out of control shouting and "grandstanding" during televised press briefings and other White House events, Acosta even had to address and defend this fact on CNN with an appearance on Reliable Sources. "If they want to send me to hell, I'll still be shouting at the devil," he said.

He's embracing the single life

Jim Acosta and registered nurse Sharon Mobley Stow had been married for 24 years when they "quietly split" in early 2017, according to Page Six. Since that time, it appears Acosta is fully "embracing the single life in Washington, DC" and has women "flocking" to him. "A friend lives in his building and [has seen] him with different women," a colleague told Page Six, and Acosta's eligibility may be spreading to international dating markets. A source claimed the journalist "was quite popular on the recent presidential trip to Saudi Arabia."

Does that naturally happen to middle-aged, silver-haired men? What's their secret? If Jim Acosta hasn't written "President called me a 'real beauty'" in his Tinder profile yet, we feel that's a big missed opportunity. 

His White House press credentials were suspended

Immediately after the aforementioned press conference, the White House revoked Jim Acosta's press pass. "President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted after the debacle. "As a result of today's incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice," she added.

"This is a lie," Acosta shot back on Twitter. "Don't believe the lies coming from the WH. Believe in our freedoms. Thank you all for your support. We won't back down. #1A," he added. In a plot twist nobody saw coming, conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro agreed. "This is not what happened. You could have banned him simply for refusing to abide by any of the normal rules of the press room. No need to state something happened that didn't," he replied to Sanders on Twitter.

He's the journalist Donald Trump loves to hate

Before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, his dislike toward the press was already at a fever pitch, and he seemingly decided Jim Acosta would be the personification of media bias against him. During a televised news conference in May 2016, Trump interrupted Acosta's line of questioning with, "Excuse me, excuse me. I've watched you on TV. You're a real beauty." At a press conference after his unexpected win over Hillary Clinton, Trump refused to take a question from Acosta. "Your organization is terrible," Trump told Acosta (via Politico). "I am not going to give you a question. You are fake news."

Trump ratcheted up his disdain for the media in August 2018, when he called the press the "enemy of the people." During a tense White House briefing the next day, Acosta challenged press secretary Sarah Sanders to disavow those remarks. "It would be a good thing if you were to state right here, at this briefing, that the press — the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier — are not the enemy of the people," Acosta said. Sanders declined.

The infamous exchange with Trump

The contentious relationship between Jim Acosta and Donald Trump came to a boiling point on Nov. 7, 2018, during a White House press conference following the midterm elections. "I want to challenge you," Acosta began in the packed room of reporters. "Here we go," Trump replied. Acosta then insisted that a highly-publicized caravan of Central American immigrants "is not an invasion" and pressed Trump on his use of that description. "Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN," Trump shot back, calling Acosta "a rude, terrible person." The president added, "CNN should be ashamed of itself."

With other reporters waiting to ask questions, Acosta refused to give up the microphone and even appeared to made contact with a female White House intern's arm as she attempted to take it from him. Trump, visibly angry, forcefully pointed at Acosta and demanded, "That's enough, that's enough. Put down the mic." Acosta sat down, then stood up again and interrupted another reporter.

Naturally, the reactions to this back-and-forth were partisan. Fox News journalist Chris Wallace claimed "Acosta's behavior was shameful" and said the reporter "embarrassed himself today." CNN Communications released a statement on Twitter that said, "This President's ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American."

His Twitter game has leveled up

After his televised clash with President Trump during the aforementioned White House press conference, Jim Acosta gained nearly a quarter million new Twitter followers in just three days, pushing him past the 1 million follower mark. Acosta even upped his selfie game while still taking digs at Trump. "Greetings from Paris where we are on the ground for Trump's trip to France. #1A," he tweeted (with the above photo) two days after the White House suspended his press credentials. In other words, Acosta managed to simultaneously share a selfie, reference the First Amendment, and let Trump know he's going to see him soon in one post. That makes him an accomplished journalist and master troll. Respect.

On a serious note, Acosta also pinned a tweet that let's all his followers know where he stands: "We are not the enemy of the people. I am not your enemy. You are not my enemy. It is wrong to call your fellow Americans the enemy. We are all on the same team. We are all Americans."

CNN sued the White House to get his press pass back

After Trump revoked Acosta's press pass, CNN filed a lawsuit against the White House "seeking the immediate restoration of chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's access to the White House." In a blistering statement, the network stated, "the wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process." CNN said it wasn't just protecting Acosta, but journalists everywhere. "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to the lawsuit, calling it "more grandstanding from CNN." She added, "CNN, who has nearly 50 additional hard pass holders, and Mr. Acosta is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment … The White House cannot run an orderly and fair press conference when a reporter acts this way, which is neither appropriate nor professional. The First Amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolize the floor."

A judge ruled in his favor

On Nov. 16, 2018, federal judge Timothy J. Kelly granted CNN's request for a court order to temporarily restore Jim Acosta's White House press credentials. Since Kelly did not rule on the First Amendment claims in the initial lawsuit, President Trump and the White House technically could revoke Acosta's credentials again. 

Outside the courthouse, Acosta was visibly thrilled with the decision. "I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today." He added, "Let's go back to work!" CNN also released a statement on Twitter saying it looked "forward to a full resolution" and thanking "all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press."