White House suspends reporter after Trump run-in
The White House has been accused of uploading a doctored video showing a CNN correspondent chopping down on the arm of an aide in a heated confrontation during a news conference.
The White House said they have suspended the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta after he and President Donald Trump had a confrontation after the reporter asked 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”.
Others were quick to come to Mr Acosta’s defence, and claimed a video uploaded by the White House had been speeded up deliberately in sev- eral frames to accentuate the severity of the contact.
CNN said in a statement that the White House revoked Mr Acosta’s press pass out of “retaliation for his challenging questions”, and the network accused Ms Sanders of lying about Mr Acosta’s actions.
“(Sanders) provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better,” CNN said. “Jim Acosta has our full support.”
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.
The post-midterm election news conference marked a new low in the president’s relationship with journalists.
“It’s such a hostile media,” Mr Trump said after ordering reporter April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks to sit down when she tried to ask him a question.
The president complained the media did not cover the humming economy and was responsible for much of the country’s divided politics.
He said, “I can do something fantastic, and they make it look not good.”
His exchanges with CNN’s Mr Acosta and NBC News’ Peter Alexander turned bitterly personal.
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