White House suspends CNN reporter after Trump confrontation

White House suspends CNN reporter after Trump confrontation

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The White House has suspended the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta after he and President Donald Trump had a heated confrontation during a news conference.

They began arguing after Mr Acosta asked Mr Trump about the caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern US border.

When Mr Acosta tried to follow up with another question, Mr Trump said, "That's enough!" and a female White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from Acosta.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement accusing Mr Acosta of "placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern," calling it "absolutely unacceptable".

The interaction between Mr Acosta and the intern was brief, and Mr Acosta appeared to brush her arm as she reached for the microphone and he tried to hold on to it. "Pardon me, ma'am," he told her.

Mr Acosta tweeted that Ms Sanders's statement that he put his hands on the aide was "a lie".

 

'You should let me run the country' 

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Journalists assigned to cover the White House apply for passes that allow them daily access to press areas in the West Wing.

White House staff decide whether journalists are eligible, though the Secret Service determines whether their applications are approved.

His exchanges with CNN's Mr Acosta and NBC News' Peter Alexander turned bitterly personal, unusual even for a forum where the nature of their jobs often put presidents and the press at odds.

"I came in here as a nice person wanting to answer questions, and I had people jumping out of their seats screaming questions at me," said Mr Trump, who talked for nearly 90 minutes despite the run-ins with reporters.

"You should let me run the country," Mr Trump said. "You run CNN and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better."

"CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them," the president said to Mr Acosta. "You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN. The way you treat Sarah Sanders is horrible. The way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn't treat people that way."

Mr Alexander came to his colleague's defence. "I've travelled with him and watched him," Mr Alexander said. "He's a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us."

"I'm not a big fan of yours, either," Mr Trump replied.

 

'They are disturbingly un-American' 

Mr Acosta stood back up and began mentioning, without a microphone, the explosive devices that were recently sent to CNN and some of the president's political opponents.

"Just sit down," Mr Trump said. "When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people."

After the exchange, CNN, through its public relations department's Twitter feed, said Mr Trump's attacks on the press have gone too far.

"They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American," CNN said.

"While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere."

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