By Sam Dorman
Published May 25, 2019
CNN reporter Jim Acosta suggests in his new book that President Trump didn't take the "fake news" accusation seriously at the beginning of his presidency.
In his book "The Enemy of the People," slated for release on June 11, Acosta recalls getting a phone call from then-White House communications director Hope Hicks who said the president wanted her to tell Acosta he was "very professional" after the two had a testy exchange in which the president called Acosta "fake news."
The exchange happened during a press conference in February of 2017, according to an extract of the book obtained by The Guardian. Based on Acosta's account, it seemed as though Hicks indicated Acosta understood the subtext of their exchange that day.
“He said, ‘Jim gets it’,” Acosta claims Hicks said of Trump.
“When he called us ‘fake news’, it was, in his mind, an act," Acosta writes.
Acosta's book comes after a long line of confrontations between him and the president, who has often referred to CNN as "fake news."
Acosta has also received criticism from people outside the administration, suggesting that he was grandstanding during press conferences -- something the CNN reporter admits to in his book. He also suggests that bias is OK in the age of Trump.
“Neutrality for the sake of neutrality doesn’t really serve us in the age of Trump," he said.
Amid his book release, Acosta seemed to face criticism from within his own network.
“Jim Acosta is, a lot of times, asking the right questions but it doesn’t always need to be about him and his grandstanding,” a CNN staffer told Fox News.
“People get tired of it. Acosta is supposed to be a correspondent reporting the facts but you can’t tell the difference between him and a paid pundit.”
Another White House reporter suggested to Fox News that Acosta's actions had unintended consequences for the rest of the press corps.
"I support reporters — even irredeemably biased ones — having access to the White House. But Acosta should consider how his behavior affects the rest of the press corps, who are there to be taken seriously and report the news rather than to boost their own celebrity," the reporter said.
One particular incident cost Acosta his press pass after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders accused him of placing his hands on a White House intern who was trying to take the microphone from him.
Acosta reportedly called that accusation a "disgusting smear" and said of the incident, "everything in my life began to spiral out of control." But despite Acosta's criticism of Sanders in the book, he also said she would get drinks with him and others. Sanders, he said, could “throw back her Maker’s and Coke with the best of them."
Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.