During a tense White House press briefing Thursday, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta pushed for press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to refute President Donald Trump’s characterization of the press and say that they are “not the enemy of the people.”

“It would be a good thing if you were to state right here, at this briefing, that the press — the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier — are not the enemy of the people,” said Acosta. “I think we deserve that.”

Sanders claimed that the president had already made his views on the matter clear but added that “it’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric, when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country.”

She charged the media with using “personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger.” And noted that she herself had been the focus of a number of verbal attacks herself, citing a comedian’s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. “You brought up a comedian to attack my appearance and call me a traitor to my own gender,” Sanders said. “As far as I know, I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection.”

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After Acosta apologized, he also mentioned that she wasn’t the only one facing such troubles. The CNN reporter has repeatedly filmed himself being verbally harassed by Trump supporters while covering the president’s campaign rallies.

“This democracy, this country, all the people around the world watching what you are saying, Sarah, and the White House for the United States of America — the president of the United States should not refer to us as ‘the enemy of the people,’” he pressed. “All I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.”

Sanders simply responded, “I appreciate your passion. I share it. I’ve addressed this question.”

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