Kellyanne Conway exchanged barbed words with CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta on Tuesday, where she called him a "smartass."
The counsellor to the president claimed that members of the US media didn’t like him.
Acosta was at a press event on the North Lawn driveway at the White House ahead of Donald Trump’s prime time television address when he asked her:
Can you promise that the president will tell the truth tonight? Will he tell the truth?
Conway replied sarcastically:
Yes, Jim. And will you promise that you will? The whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Acosta charged ahead with a comment about her propensity for "alternative facts" as a defence for accusations of lying. "I will absolutely. I’m not the one with the alternative-facts problem like you."
He’s referring to a number of instances, in particular an interview Conway had with NBC in January 2017, in which she defended then-press secretary Sean Spicer’s false statement about Trump’s swearing-in ceremony having had the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. She called them "alternative facts".
In his interaction with Conway, Acosta asked if Trump’s speech would pass a fact check.
Conway snapped at the CNN journalist, saying she is “one of the only people around here who even gives you the time of day".
Let me go back in your case because you’re such a smartass most of the time and I know you want this to go viral.
A lot of these people don’t like you. But let me just be respectful to the media at large as I always am.
The Washington Post conducted an extensive fact check of the speech and found many of his claims to be inaccurate or untruthful, and his statements to be often misleading.
The tense exchange comes in light of a recently fraught relationship between Acosta and the White House.
In November the White House took away the CNN journalist’s press credentials after Trump attempted to stop him from continuing to ask questions. The White House later accused him of ‘placing hands’ on a young intern.
CNN filed a lawsuit against the White House, and Acosta got his credentials returned.