At one point during the exchange, Trump said, "That's enough", and a female White House aide tried to take Acosta's mic. Acosta held onto the microphone, pulled it back, and continued with his question, saying, "Pardon me, ma'am", to the aide.
President Donald Trump pushed back Wednesday against the idea his rhetoric could be emboldening white nationalists, telling the PBS NewsHour's Yamiche Alcindor: "That's such a racist question".
Widely viewed as a referendum on Mr Trump's presidency, the election results offered a split decision that revealed deep tensions in the American electorate.
"Well, I'm not a big fan of yours either", Trump retorts. Trump tweeted earlier in the day that those who "worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well".
Acosta was called "rude" by Trump who added that the way the reporter treats White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was "horrible".
Acosta then stands up and says something (it's a bit inaudible since he doesn't have the mic) about Trump's labeling of the media as the "enemy of the people" and the pipe bombs sent to CNN. "You shouldn't treat people that way".
In a stinging put down of Acosta, he said: "I tell you what CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them". He praised Rep. Nancy Pelosi, calling her "very smart", but then warned House Democrats that he would have Senate Republicans probe their conduct, should they use their newfound subpoena power to investigate him. When Acosta started to hem and haw, Trump waved his hand in exasperation, "Come on, let's go". He tried to tell Trump that the migrant caravan is not an "invasion", after which Trump insisted he "sit down!"
"When you talk about division, it's people like this who cause division", he said of the reporter. "And you shouldn't be working for CNN".
"I've never seen anything like it", he said.
A White House staff member steps in to try to take the microphone away from Acosta.
But they lost their majority in the House, a setback for Trump after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership.
"That's such a racist question", responded the president, who noted his high approval rating among black Americans.
He also described CNN as "the enemy of the people".