Heard on the Hill

‘You’re such a smartass’: Kellyanne Conway, Jim Acosta clash outside West Wing

Outburst came after the CNN reporter alleged Conway has an ‘alternative facts problem’

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, sits at the outdoor patio at BLT Steak restaurant in Washington, D.C. April 10, 2017. (Photo by Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

The Trump White House and CNN did battle again on Tuesday, with Kellyanne Conway calling reporter Jim Acosta “a smartass” during a sharp exchange outside the West Wing.

The exchange began when the network’s chief White House correspondent asked the longtime confidant and adviser to Donald Trump if the president intends to “tell the truth” during a prime-time address Tuesday night from the Oval Office.

Conway then shot back a question about whether Acosta intends to tell the truth when he goes back on air, prompting him to opine that she has an “alternative facts problem.”

[Three things to watch in Trump’s border wall Oval Office address]

That reference to her now-famous January 2017 description of former Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s insistence the day after Trump took office that his inauguration crowd size was larger than that of his predecessor, Barack Obama, drew Conway’s ire.

“You’re such a smartass most of the time,” Conway said in front of a small throng of journalists — including television cameras — after she did a television hit on the White House’s North Lawn to preview Trump’s first Oval Office address.

As they traded sick burn for sick burn, Conway charged Acosta with wanting the exchange to “go viral,” adding of the other media members gathered around them: “A lot of these people don’t like you.”

[Shutdown Day 17: White House, Dems disagree on definition of ‘negotiating’]

Acosta’s White House press pass was briefly revoked earlier this year after he sparred with Trump during a press conference in November the day after Trump and Republicans lost control of the House. A federal judge ruled in favor of CNN on the matter, and the White House opted to restore his “hard pass” rather than continue the legal battle.

Notably, Conway was spotted by a Roll Call reporter taking umbrage with Acosta’s questioning of Vice President Mike Pence on Monday during a border security briefing. As Acosta asked his questions, Conway stood across the room shaking her head with clear disgust and muttering her disagreement with seemingly every premise of his questions.

2018 in 5 minutes: The best of Congressional Hits and Misses

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.