White House bars CNN reporter after verbal duel with Trump

By AFP
Published: November 8, 2018
SHARES
Email
US President Donald Trump points to journalist Jim Acosta(C) from CNN during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

US President Donald Trump points to journalist Jim Acosta(C) from CNN during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON DC: The White House on Wednesday suspended the press pass of a CNN reporter who  sparred with Donald Trump at a news conference, during which the president branded him the “enemy of the people.”

A visibly angry Trump called reporter Jim Acosta a “rude, terrible person,” after the CNN White House correspondent refused the president’s orders to sit down and yield the microphone during the conference one day after the US midterm election.

Campaigners get permission to fly Giant ‘Trump Baby’ balloon

US President Donald Trump points to journalist Jim Acosta from CNN during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

US President Donald Trump points to journalist Jim Acosta from CNN during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

“The White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders hours later, referring to Acosta, who then tweeted that he had been denied White House entry.

The heated exchange began after Acosta clung to the microphone and persisted with questions about the president’s repeated and angry denunciation of a caravan of poor Central American migrants making their way through Mexico to the US border. He asked Trump why he has characterised it as an invasion.

Trump said “that’s enough!” and a White House intern tried in vain to take the microphone from the CNN journalist.

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” Sanders said in her statement. “We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”

Trump on Syria strikes: ‘Mission Accomplished!’

Acosta shot back at the accusation of misconduct, tweeting “this is a lie” – as his network and a number of Washington journalists who had been at the press conference voiced support for him and denied the White House allegations that he touched the intern.

“Secretary Sanders lied,” CNN said in a statement, saying the press pass suspension was “done in retaliation for challenging questions.”
Sanders “provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened,” the US cable network said. “This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.”

An association representing the Washington press corps urged the White House to immediately reverse “this weak and misguided action.”

“The White House Correspondents’ Association strongly objects to the Trump Administration’s decision to use US Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship,” the group said. “Revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offense and is unacceptable.”

In a later tweet, Sanders said the White House stood by its decision. “We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video,” she wrote.

It was the latest in a long history of fiery run-ins between the mercurial Republican leader and Acosta.

Told Saudi king he wouldn’t last without US support: Donald Trump

At the conference Trump, when asked if he had “demonized immigrants” during the midterms campaign, replied: “No, I want them to come into the country. But they have to come in legally.”
Acosta persisted, saying: “They are hundreds of miles away. That is not an invasion.”

At that point, the president snapped.

US President Donald Trump points to journalist Jim Acosta(C) from CNN during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

US President Donald Trump points to journalist Jim Acosta(C) from CNN during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

“Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be higher,” Trump said.
As the reporter continued, Trump declared: “That’s enough, put down the mic” and walked away from his own podium, as if leaving.

The intern attempted to take the microphone from Acosta, who persisted and tried to shout out one last question. Waving his finger, Trump berated him.

“I’ll tell you what. CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN,” he said.

When NBC reporter Peter Alexander took the mic for the next question, he defended Acosta as a “diligent reporter” – earning Trump’s ire.

“I’m not a fan of yours either. To be honest. You aren’t the best,” he said.

Looking back at Acosta, who again rose up in his own defense, Trump added: “When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”

In response, CNN said “this president’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far,” in a statement.

“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American.”

Watch the video here:

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (1)

  • AAK
    Nov 8, 2018 - 2:10PM

    So freedom of speech and free press is suddenly a dispensable idea!

    It will be interesting to see how many protests are made by the large MSM in the West

    Perhaps none. Because it did not happen in China or Russia or an emerging country.Recommend

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in World