CNN host Jim Acosta appeared to compare the derision he endured at the hands of former President Donald Trump to being physically abused on Monday.
During Monday's handover between his fill-in hosting gig and "Don Lemon Tonight," Acosta said he still had "marks on my back" from his tenure at the White House, seemingly referring to the tumultuous relationship he had with Trump, as well as the criticism he often received from the latter.
"As someone who witnessed the unraveling of our democracy, had a front row seat to it … is it better? Worse? Can we turn this around in your estimation? You were the White House correspondent for the entire Trump reign," fellow CNN host Don Lemon asked Acosta, who is hosting a week-long show about democracy being in "peril" during former host Chris Cuomo's time slot.
"Yeah. And I've got the marks on my back to prove it, Don," Acosta said, laughing and adding that he thought American democracy was currently in worse shape than it was under the Trump administration. Acosta has been sharply critical of Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat and Republican election laws passed in the aftermath.
He claimed Monday the country was "facing a crisis" and that future elections could be "thrown into chaos" because of questions being raised over the results of the 2020 presidential election.
"To some extent things are better. I mean, today we had the president of the United States refer to a reporter as an S.O.B. You know, Don, you and I got called a lot worse back in the day. We never got an apology. I don’t remember that from the commander in chief. So maybe things are a little bit better to some extent," Acosta said.
Acosta regularly clashed with the former president during press conferences and other events when he would answer questions from the media. Trump used the term "fake news" to describe CNN and Acosta's reporting, and the relationship bottomed out when Acosta's hard pass was temporarily revoked after he refused to give up the microphone amid asking Trump questions following the 2018 midterms.
He was often the subject of scorn on the right and even from his mainstream colleagues for his bombastic, melodramatic style of questioning while covering Trump. He has served as a left-wing weekend opinion host on CNN since President Biden took office, although his official title is "domestic correspondent."
Seizing on his liberal fame for sparring with Trump and his spokespersons, he wrote the book "The Enemy of the People," one of many accounts from journalists covering the tumultuous Trump era. It was panned by even liberal critics as navel-gazing and shallow.
His weekend show focuses far more on Trump than Biden; even his pinned tweet for months has been an on-air editorial calling Trump a "clown." He also posted an Instagram anniversary post on Jan. 20 where he celebrated dropping off "you know who" for the last time on Air Force One.