CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked President Trump whether “one of our female colleagues” could be called on after he questioned the president at a Wednesday press conference in New York City, prompting Trump to question Acosta’s protocol request.
“What does he mean by that,” Trump asked.
In a series of crosstalk, during which Trump repeatedly asked him to “explain,” Acosta said he thought “it would be great if a female reporter would ask you a question about this issue.”
The president replied: “I wouldn’t mind that at all, no.”
As Acosta began to speak again, Trump added: “Wouldn’t make any difference to me.”
The president did call on a female reporter after Acosta concluded his questioning.
The exchange occurred while the president held a news conference and was asked a number of questions regarding Thursday’s highly anticipated Capitol Hill hearing with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who’s accused him of sexual assault.
Kavanaugh has since been accused by two additional women of separate incidents of alleged sexual misconduct.
Acosta took the moment to ask Trump why he “always seem to side with the accused and not the accuser.”
“You have three women here who are all making allegations, who are all asking that their stories be heard,” Acosta continued. “And you know, if you look at the case of Roy Moore, if you look at the case of one of your staffers, you seem to time and again side with the accused and not the accuser. Is that because of the many allegations that you’ve had made against you over the years?”
Trump began by addressing Moore, the Republican candidate from Alabama who unsuccessfully ran in a special Senate election last year and faced multiple allegations of past sexual misconduct. Trump said he “wasn’t happy with” Moore but would’ve preferred that “a Republican candidate win.”
“As far as women, whether it’s a man or a woman, these are … you know it can happen the other way, allegations can go the other way also. You understand that,” Trump said. “But I could pick a woman and she could have charges made from many years ago also.”
Acosta went on to suggest that “many of these accusers are reluctant to come forward,” a notion with which Trump disagreed.
“They have a major chance to speak,” Trump added. “And it will be tomorrow I assume. We’ve delayed this – meaning the Republican Senators, not me – the Republican Senators have delayed this for weeks now. They’re giving the women a major chance to speak. Now it’s possible I’ll hear that and I’ll say, ‘Hey, I’m changing my mind.’ That is possible.”
When asked whether all three of Kavanaugh’s accusers “should have a chance to speak,” Trump replied: “Well, whoever is given a chance.”