Trump Challenges CNN's Acosta to 'Ask Jeff Zucker How He Got His Job'

Craig Bannister | February 16, 2017 | 6:07pm EST
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When CNN’s Jim Acosta denied Pres. Trump’s claim that CNN hates him, Trump scoffed and challenged Acosta to look into the network president’s past. But, why?

It happened just as the two began a contentious exchange in Thursday’s press conference, after Trump called out CNN for its “hatred” of him:

“I don’t mind bad stories. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it’s true and, you know, over a course of time, I’ll make mistakes and you’ll write badly and I’m OK with that. But I’m not OK when it is fake. I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred.”

So, when Trump called on Acosta, the CNN correspondent denied the charge, saying, “Just for the record, we don’t hate you. I don’t hate you.” Trump sarcastically replied, “O.K.” and Acosta tells him to “Pass that along.”

Then, something strange happened.

Trump defended the claim CNN hates him by cryptically challenging Acosta:

“Ask — ask Jeff Zucker how he got his job. OK?”

Was this a message meant for Acosta only, or was Trump throwing it out there, hoping someone would pick up on it and investigate?

So, what was Trump implying with this out-of-the-blue, insider remark about CNN’s :

  • Zucker hired by CNN because of his malice toward conservatives?
  • He was hired by someone with a personal vendetta against Trump?
  • There was some bad blood between Zucker and Trump during the president’s “Apprentice” years with NBC?
  • There’s something shady in the circumstances of Zucker’s hiring?
  • Or, something else entirely?

On the surface, the circumstances of Zucker’s move to the helm of seem fairly straightforward. In 2013, after more than two decades of success and advancement – in which he gave the green light to the hit series “The Apprentice,” starring Donald Trump – CNN hired Zucker.

So, why put it out there?

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