Jim Acosta: I've never seen Trump this alone

CNN's Jim Acosta talks with Brian Stelter about covering the final day of President Donald Trump's administration.

Posted: Jan 25, 2021 9:40 AM
Updated: Jan 25, 2021 9:40 AM

Donald Trump spent his last moments as President sad and alone, according to Jim Acosta, who led CNN's coverage of Trump during his presidency.

In his farewell to Washington on Wednesday morning, Trump greeted a small crowd of about 200 at Joint Base Andrews before he boarded Air Force One with family and the press, including Acosta.

"It was sort of a sad and pathetic sight," Acosta told CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" on Sunday. "I've never seen him this alone the entire time he was at the level of presidential politics."

Acosta, now CNN's lead domestic reporter, said Trump may have had a different outcome at the end had he not instigated a riot that laid siege to the US Capitol on January 6 -- one of several attempts in the waning days of his presidency to overturn the election results. After the siege, Trump lost whatever remaining credibility he had with many of his supporters, according to Acosta.

"Essentially what we saw was the undoing of the Trump presidency," Acosta said of Trump's final days. "What we saw the President build over the course of four or five years out on the campaign trail and over at the White House just sort of of unraveled at the end."

After the Capitol riot, Trump was banned from Twitter, and he has largely remained out of public view save for a few short video messages and his last address to supporters at Joint Base Andrews. It's an unusual quiet period for Trump, who has relished the spotlight for decades.

Outside the White House, the daily media scrutiny of Trump will almost certainly fade. Stelter noted major media outlets, including Fox, are not stationing reporters in Palm Beach, Florida, to cover Trump.

Acosta expects Trump won't be able to remain silent for long.

"I think it is temporary," he told Stelter. The populist political forces that sent Trump to the White House "have the potential to come back in the days to come. I do think Trump is going to lead at least a fringe movement in this country."

But with record-low popularity in the last days of office, Trump probably doesn't have the ability to lead a major political party and win back the presidency, Acosta noted -- and that's if the Senate in its upcoming impeachment trial fails to convict Trump and prevent him from running for office again.

Trump likes to compare himself to Grover Cleveland, who remains the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. But Grover Cleveland was more popular than Trump when he won his second term, Acosta noted.

"Trump isn't going to be able to do that right now," he predicted.

Acosta had a combative relationship with the Trump White House that at one point took away his credentials -- a decision that CNN successfully sued to overturn in court.

Although Trump is out of office, Acosta still calls him "lord of the lies" and believes he should not be ignored.

"While he's still licking his wounds down in Mar-a-Lago, he poses a threat to this country," Acosta said.

"This is not a time to put away our fact checkers in some sort of box on a shelf. They're going to be needed to fact-check this movement. Trump may be going away, but Trumpism is not."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
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Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
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Porter21737346
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Warrick10674177
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Floyd10430205
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Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
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Marshall7362128
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Union96911
Ohio79711
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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