Former chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is set to serve as CNN’s chief domestic correspondent and will anchor on weekends, the network announced in a statement.
The network noted that it was expanding a weekday program hosted by Jake Tapper to two hours. Tapper will also serve as the network’s lead anchor for all major Washington events.
Acosta joined the network back in 2007 and has been chief White House correspondent since 2018.
He is infamously known as the stubborn reporter who repeatedly questioned President Donald Trump, refusing to pass the microphone on, in a press conference at the White House.
His sometimes combative exchanges with President Trump and several White House press secretaries made Acosta a target for the president and his allies, who regularly attacked journalists as "the enemy of the people."
Conservative strategist Chris Barron called Acosta a “performance artist” in an interview with Fox News, and claimed the change is “the most glaring.”
“Acosta will probably get shipped off to cover Mar-a-Lago where he can yell at Trump from outside,” Barron jokes.
Following a testy exchange between Acosta and Trump in late 2018, during which the president called Acosta "a rude, terrible person," the White House revoked the reporter's press credentials without giving a reason for doing so.
The White House eventually restored Acosta's press pass after CNN threatened to sue over the dispute,when CNN argued that it violated Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights.
In 2019, Acosta published a book titled "The Enemy of the People," an account he says details "the dangers he faces reporting on the current White House while fighting on the front lines in President Trump’s war on truth."
“If a politician’s supporters are so blinded by their own passions that they can walk up to a journalist at a political event and scream that she’s a traitor," Acosta in a tweet Sunday quoted his book in reference to the rioting that took place on Capitol Hill last week. "Or anonymously threaten a reporter’s life on social media, then we, as a society, are surrendering something far greater than politics. We are surrendering our decency, and perhaps our humanity. It is perfectly fair to ask how does this end without suffering.”
Amber Athey, The Spectator’s Washington editor, commented to Fox that it was suspicious, in her opinion, that CNN replaced Acosta when he’s been a household name known for aggressively resisting Trump.
“It certainly seems odd that CNN is pulling Acosta from the White House rotation right as a Democratic president is set to take office. He insisted repeatedly that his style of shouting questions, delivering monologues, and heckling White House officials was merely about holding powerful people accountable for their actions,” Athey claimed.
“Is CNN effectively saying that they don’t want to hold the Biden administration accountable in the same way?” she questioned.