CNN's Jim Acosta has White House cre­den­tials re­voked after fu­ri­ous ex­change with Trump

The Guardian Australia - - Headlines - Guardian staff and agen­cies

The White House is re­vok­ing the cre­den­tial pass of CNN re­porter Jim Acosta hours af­tera fiery ex­change at a press con­fer­ence.

Acosta has long been a bit­ter ad­ver­sary of the White House. The His­panic Amer­i­can re­porter works for the rolling news chan­nel that has been a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus of ire for the ad­min­is­tra­tion. CNN has been the net­work most closely associated with the “fake news” slur, which the pres­i­dent has used con­sis­tently to un­der­mine pub­lic con­fi­dence in the me­dia.

In a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, Acosta was try­ing to chal­lenge Trump over the pres­i­dent’s scare-mon­ger­ing about the so-called “car­a­van” of mi­grants mak­ing their way through Mex­ico.

When Trump tried to brush him off, Acosta re­fused to sur­ren­der a mi­cro­phone pro­vided by the White House, while try­ing to ask Trump an­other ques­tion. A fe­male staffer tried to take it from him and Acosta held on. Trump went on to call the re­porter “a rude, ter­ri­ble per­son”.

Hours later, the White House press sec­re­tary, Sarah San­ders, said in a state­ment: “Pres­i­dent Trump be­lieves in a free press and ex­pects and 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. 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.”

In a state­ment, CNN de­fended its re­porter. “The White House an­nounced tonight that it has re­voked the press pass of CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta,” said the com­pany in a state­ment. “It was done in re­tal­i­a­tion for his chal­leng­ing ques­tions at to­day’s press con­fer­ence. In an ex­pla­na­tion, Press Sec­re­tary Sarah San­ders lied. She pro­vided fraud­u­lent ac­cu­sa­tions and cited an in­ci­dent that never hap­pened. This un­prece­dented de­ci­sion is a threat to our democ­racy and the coun­try de­serves bet­ter. Jim Acosta has our full sup­port.”

The move will be seen as clear in­ter­fer­ence with the way White House Cor­re­spon­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers cover the ad­min­is­tra­tion. Only jour­nal­ists who have been ac­cred­ited with a “hard pass” can en­ter White House grounds swiftly through se­cu­rity.

Acosta would the­o­ret­i­cally be able to ap­ply for a day pass to con­tinue do­ing his job, but the process is slow and im­prac­ti­cal for any jour­nal­ist who needs to move freely in and out of the White House.

Ap­pear­ing on CNN Tues­day night, Acosta said he had first be­come aware of a prob­lem when se­cu­rity stopped him from en­ter­ing the White House grounds. It was “a pretty sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence” be­ing barred from do­ing his job be­cause he tried to ask a ques­tion of the pres­i­dent, he said.

The White House Cor­re­spon­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion is­sued a state­ment con­demn­ing what it called 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”.

Call­ing on the White House to re­verse this “weak and mis­guided ac­tion”, it added: “Re­vok­ing ac­cess to the White House com­plex is a re­ac­tion out of line to the pur­ported of­fense and is un­ac­cept­able.

“We en­cour­age any­one with doubts that this re­ac­tion was dis­pro­por­tion­ate to the per­ceived of­fense to view the video of the events from ear­lier to­day.”

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