“There might be somewhat of an advertisement going on here.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta suggested Monday that President Donald Trump may have awarded golfer Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom as a way to advertise a Trump-owned golf course Woods played a role in designing.
Speaking to host Wolf Blitzer from the Rose Garden, the CNN White House correspondent said the medal is “typically handed out and issued to notable figures after a career of achievements, at the end of their careers,” before relating Trump’s explanation for giving Woods the award.
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“One thing we should note, The New York Times did a story about this just in the last 24 hours, asked the White House to essentially defend why the president was having Tiger Woods out here,” Acosta said. “Sarah Sanders, in a statement to The New York Times, said that the president is issuing this Presidential Medal of Freedom, not only because of his winning the Masters tournament and all of his achievements in the world of golf, but also for breaking barriers in the sport. So that’s the word from the White House on that.”
Acosta then explained that Trump and Woods have been friends for many years.
“They have been friends for many years; and as a matter of fact, back in 2013, the president tweeted about how he has stood by Tiger Woods when he was going through some personal trauma in his life, and the president was taking credit in that tweet essentially for standing by Tiger Woods in all of that,” Acosta said.
But Acosta had his own theory on why Trump gave Woods the award.
“Now, we should also note, Wolf, that the president and Tiger Woods do have something of a business arrangement,” Acosta said. “The president’s company, the Trump Organization, hired Tiger Woods to design a golf course at the president’s company’s golf course in Dubai. Wolf, that obviously shows that there are some business ties between these two men.”
Acosta implied the Rose Garden ceremony was actually a “TV ad” for the Dubai course.
“I suppose a critic could argue after watching all of this that there might be somewhat of an advertisement going on here, a TV ad going on here in handing out this Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods. It is, in effect, publicizing one of the Trump golf courses there in Dubai that Tiger Woods had a hand in,” Acosta said.
“Although we should point out that particular course has not opened yet,” he conceded.
Acosta has repeatedly clashed with the Trump administration in his role as CNN White House correspondent. Last November, Acosta briefly had his White House access revoked after putting his hands on a White House intern while refusing to give up the microphone during a press conference.
Critics have accused the reporter of being partisan in his coverage of the administration, especially after Acosta released a tell-all book about his battles with the White House.
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