President Donald Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta held a fiery back-and-forth exchange during a press conference Wednesday afternoon while discussing the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump, who had called only on male reporters for the previous questions, appeared offended when Acosta prefaced his question by asking that Trump call on female reporters next.
“What does he mean by that? Explain,” Trump interrupted. “What does that mean? What does it mean?”
But when Acosta replied that it would be “great” if a female reporter could ask a question about the issue, Trump quickly agreed.
“I wouldn’t mind it at all, no. I wouldn’t mind it at all. Wouldn’t make any difference to me. Go ahead,” he said.
But the conversation quickly grew tense again, after Acosta asked why Trump typically sides with men who have been accused of sexual misconduct, rather than their accusers.
Acosta referred to figures like Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate from Alabama, and Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary. Moore was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting teenage girls, while Porter was accused of abusing his ex-wives.
“Well first of all, I wasn’t happy with Roy Moore, let’s get that straight,” Trump said, though he vehemently defended Moore during his campaign. Trump added that it was possible that the testimony of Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, will make a difference.
Ford, who has alleged Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s when the two were teenagers, is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
“It’s possible I’ll hear that and I’ll say, ‘Hey, I’m changing my mind.’ That is possible,” Trump said. “We want to give them a chance to speak.”
Acosta is notorious for getting into heated back-and-forths with White House officials during press briefings, and getting heckled at Trump rallies.
Trump did end up calling on a female reporter at the press conference next.