CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta poked fun at President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night address on border security, saying that the message should have carried a warning that it was “hazardous to the truth.”
Acosta spoke with CNN’s Chris Cuomo shortly after the speech aired and offered his take on the president’s remarks.
“Well Chris, I think that address probably should have come with a surgeon general’s warning — it was hazardous to the truth,” he said, garnering subdued laughter from Cuomo. “There were a number of claims that the president made that just are not going to stand up to the facts, you’ve mentioned a couple of them.”
Acosta listed Trump’s repeated claim that a new trade deal with Mexico will pay for the cost of the wall as one of the bigger inaccuracies in the president’s remarks.
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He further dismissed the address as being “recycled rhetoric from the president’s rallies” and said that Trump echoed his very first campaign speech in conflating undocumented immigrants with killers and criminals.
The July 2015 speech from Trump Tower kicked off the hardline immigration rhetoric that propelled the president to the White House. Trump infamously demonized immigrants entering the United States from Mexico:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
That speech was also the origin of the hallmark Trump campaign promise that has now put the federal government into a partial shutdown for nearly three weeks.
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border,” he said at the time. “And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”
While Trump remains largely committed to the idea of a new wall on the southern border, the notion that Mexico would foot the bill has never evolved past an unrealistic campaign refrain.
“Not much has changed in terms of the president’s rhetoric on this, and I think that was pretty clear in this speech,” Acosta said on Tuesday of the way Trump described undocumented immigrants on the southern border.