Trump’s White House Suspends Press Pass of CNN Reporter Acosta
The White House on Wednesday night suspended the press pass of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, hours after President Donald Trump lashed out at Acosta during a tense post-election news conference.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused Acosta of being disrespectful to a White House intern during the press conference. The intern had been passing the microphone among reporters to ask questions. At one point, she tried to take it from him and he wouldn’t let go. In a statement, which did not mention Acosta by name, Sanders started off by saying that the president "welcomes tough questions of him and his administration." "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," she said. "This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. "As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice," Sanders added in the statement. Acosta said on Twitter that the Secret Service had barred him from entering the White House on Wednesday night, and called Sanders’ statement "a lie." As the press conference wore on, Trump grew angry as he was asked about the Republican Party’s loss of the House of Representatives the night before and his fiery language during the midterm campaign. The president had called on Acosta -- a frequent foil -- to ask a question that Trump surely knew would provoke him. Acosta didn’t disappoint, implicitly criticizing the president for his immigration rhetoric. Trump called Acosta “rude,” repeatedly told him to “sit down” and stop asking questions, and stepped away from his lectern to briefly pace the stage in anger. Trump told PBS News reporter Yamiche Alcindor, who is black, that a question about his embrace of the term “nationalist” was itself racist. He complained frequently that coverage of his administration was unfair. “I do have the right to fight back because I’m treated very unfairly so I do fight back,” he said. “And I’m fighting back not for me, I’m fighting back for the people of this country.” CNN said in a statement that the revocation of Acosta’s credentials was “done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference.” The network added that Sanders “provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened.” Trump later brought the intern to the Oval Office for a photograph. Read More: Sessions Is Forced Out After Months of Trump Abuse Over Mueller Trump knew when he began the session that his remarks would wind up being only the second-biggest story of the day. Earlier in the morning, his chief of staff had called Attorney General Jeff Sessions to tell him: the president wants your resignation. But Trump repeatedly deflected reporters who pressed him on his embattled chief law enforcement officer, refusing to say what changes he planned to make in his administration. Trump had a message to deliver, and he didn’t want any distraction: the loss of the House was someone else’s fault. Those lawmakers who had embraced him, Trump insisted, had been victorious. He opened his remarks by rattling off the races where his campaigning had paid dividends, especially in the Senate, where Republicans look set to expand their majority. “I’m really happy with not only the way it came out but the response to me as president,” Trump said. And then, in yet another move with no known precedent, he called out by name Republicans in swing districts who had tried to run without him -- and lost. “Too bad,” he said of two of them, Colorado’s Mike Coffman and Utah’s Mia Love. “I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad. But I feel just fine about it.” Whether he was acting or not, Trump presented himself as emboldened by the election results, not chastened. And his assessment reinforced a central principle of his presidency, one that Sessions never fully accepted: this president prizes fealty above all.