President Donald Trump has created a new wave of controversy following a heated press conference in the White House last night.
An argument over immigration policy with CNN journalist Jim Acosta escalated quickly, with a White House staffer attempting to take the microphone from him, and the press secretary later claiming the journalist had “placed his hands on an intern”.
In the end, the White House revoked Jim Acosta’s press pass, essentially banning him from covering any press conferences going forward.
What exactly happened?
The argument began almost as soon as Jim Acosta stood up. “I want to challenge you on one of the statements you made…” he started, to which Trump replied, “Here we go…”
Acosta continued to question the president about his comments on immigration; namely the so-called “invasion” of caravans across the Mexican border. “It’s not an invasion, they’re hundreds of miles away,” Acosta pointed out.
Trump cut him off again, saying, “Honestly, I think you should let me run the country, and you run CNN – and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better. Okay, that’s enough.”
Acosta wasn’t ready to end the discussion, requesting, “Mr President, if I may ask one more question?” At this point, a White House staff member attempted to take the microphone from Acosta’s hand. He held onto it tightly and said, “Pardon me, ma’am.”
All the while, Trump said, “That’s enough. CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person.”
The White House then suspended Acosta’s press pass.
The press secretary’s claim
After the heated press conference (and following the suspension of Acosta’s press pass), the White House press secretary Sarah Saunders took to Twitter to say, “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…”
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…
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
Jim Acosta responded to her tweet with the words, “This is a lie.” What’s more, CNN replied with the following statement:
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 7, 2018
The public response
There has been a mixed response from the public since the footage of the conference (above) was aired. Many people feel Trump’s treatment of Acosta highlights his lack of respect for the press. They are calling on other journalists to boycott future White House conferences until Acosta’s press pass is reinstated.
Others say Acosta was wrong to hold onto the microphone, insisting he was rude to the intern and wanted “five minutes of fame”.
The entire White House Press corps should not show up to the White House until Jim Acosta is given back his credential.
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) November 8, 2018
There is only one proper response to this. Every WH reporter should stand in solidarity and boycott WH press briefings until Acosta gets his credential back. And every legitimate news outlet should refuse to book WH spokespeople. Let the Trump press operation wither on the vine. https://twitter.com/acosta/status/1060332691143491584
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) November 8, 2018
Ok, Jim, let me try to explain it to you. You can’t play ‘Hold On to the Mike’, at a presidential press conference. It ain’t your mike, Jim. There are others there, not just you. See what I’m getting at, Jim? #Acosta pic.twitter.com/DWQ7MdF1xl
— Burt Rosenberg (@BurtRosenberg1) November 8, 2018
He was rude, refused to hand over the mike and wanted to monopolize the press conference. He is wants his 5 min of fame, even if it means cutting his fellow correspondent off . I am glad his hard pass was revoked. He crossed the line.
— ALZINA KRESS (@KRAZY1313) November 8, 2018
Please stop lying. This is trying to find an excuse to censor the press. You don’t have to agree with @Acosta’s line of questioning but stripping his credentials makes you look like a banana republic dictator. I rarely delve into politics but is a bad look.
— El Guapo (@ElGuapoSox1986) November 8, 2018