In his Tucker Carlson Today segment with the lightning-rod host, which was published on Wednesday night, Carlson touted the writings of Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, in what CNN called a "bizarre comment". Yang later sat down with Acosta, who seemed baffled at the former presidential candidate's decision to go on Carlson's show.
"I mean Andrew, I just have to ask. Tucker Carlson... Let's just say he's just a bad person and he represents so much of what is wrong in television news these days. You know this all too well.
"He spouts off white nationalist talking points. So why would you even go on his show and why didn't you go after him when he's citing the Unabomber and talking just crazy stuff?" Acosta asked.
In response, Yang said: "We have to...try to take the temperature of the country down.
"The only way to do that is to reach out to people where they are. You know Tucker commands a massive audience and if you want to try to build a unifying popular movement that does call attention to the fact that our system's not working, really for anyone, you have to reach out. And that's what I was doing on that show."
A suspicious Acosta then urged Yang further and asked if he thinks he can bring some of Tucker's viewers - which is majority Republican - into the Forward party. "Is that what you were trying to do there?"
"The goal is to have Republicans who are discontented to channel their discontent in a positive way. And right now, in my view, it's not going in a positive direction. I'd like to help change that," Yang said.
He then cited a story from his campaigns over the last couple of years involving a volunteer who had a "Republican father (who) had never taken an interest".
"I was on Tucker's program, and all of a sudden he calls her and is like 'hey, tell me more,' and I think that's the only way we're going to get through this time," Yang explained to the CNN anchor.
Before signing off he added: "We sense that we're teetering towards some version of a new civil war and political violence and unfortunately incentives are going to make that more likely, not less likely, over time unless we have a dramatic shift in dynamic and that's what I'm trying to provide with the Forward party.
"It's going to involve reaching out to Americans of every political alignment."