Back in January, President Donald Trump assailed CNN as “fake news” at his first press conference as president — an insult that has apparently taken hold in the home of Philly-raised CNN anchor Jake Tapper.
But only when his 7-year-old son is mad at him.
Tapper last week appeared at SXSW for a Q&A discussing the media’s coverage of the 2016 presidential election, where he told MTV’s Ana Marie Cox that his son uses the “fake news” term when the CNN host is annoying him, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“[My son] now does an impression where whenever I’m bothering him he says, ‘fake news,’” Tapper said. Deadline reports that Tapper added that his “7-year-old knows it’s a ridiculous, childish thing.”
Trump referred to CNN as “fake news” during his first press conference as president in January, telling CNN reporter Jim Acosta, “you are fake news.” Trump also referred to BuzzFeed as a “failing pile of garbage” during that press conference.
Tapper’s SXSW appearance occurred during White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s press briefing regarding the latest jobs report in which Spicer said that previous numbers “may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real today.” While Tapper did not air a show responding to that comment, Cox asked him if he would have “kept the resting [expletive] face.”
“Whatever this is, I would have kept it,” Tapper responded, referring to his famously pained facial expression when interviewing difficult subjects. As a more serious response, Tapper said his show would have investigated Spicer’s claim.
“What we would have done is we would have presented the jobs numbers and talked about the real unemployment number,” Tapper said, according to Hollywood Reporter. “Then I would have explained what President Trump said throughout the campaign about how phony the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers were and then we would have run the Sean Spicer bite, which would have pretty much explained itself.”
The CNN host also addressed Saturday Night Light Live’s casting of Beck Bennett as Tapper during sketches on the show, calling the development “very, very lucky.” Bennett famously portrayed Tapper in a recent controversial skit featuring Kate McKinnon as Kellyanne Conway in which the pair parody 1987’s Fatal Attraction.
“When you see how they have gone after Sean Spicer — they got somebody probably 20 years younger than me, in much better shape, with far fewer wrinkles, a handsome guy,” Tapper said. “I feel like I really dodged a bullet.”
Like his son, Tapper is something of a prankster. The now-famous CNN host once pranked the independent Jewish day school now known as the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr with a phallic illustration in the school’s 1987 yearbook.
“The illustration was just as funny as you would expect a giant [expletive] in a private school yearbook to be,” said WXPN host Eric Schuman, a graduate of the school, of the drawing. Schuman also called the drawing “legendary” in a tweet.
Now, the young Tapper appears to be following in his dad’s smart-aleck-y footsteps. And so far, he appears to be off to a good start.