- 08 Nov 18
Their heated exchange took place yesterday.
The White House has today revoked the press pass of CNN's Jim Acosta after the reporter and United States President Donald Trump had a verbal confrontation during a news conference held yesterday.
The exchange took place as a result of the journalist questioning Trump's views on a caravan of migrants travelling from Latin America toward the southern border of the United States, as well the use of images of them "climbing over walls" being used in a campaign ad.
When Acosta attempted to probe further after initially having his question batted away, the President replied: "I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN, and if you did it well your ratings would be much better".
Thereafter, Trump insisted "that's enough" as Acosta began to respond. Mild commotion ensued as a female staff member attempted to take the microphone away from the reporter, who initially resisted until Trump made it clear he would not engage further by stepping back from the podium.
Trump branded Acosta a "rude, terrible person" after the journalist took his seat, telling him that "CNN should be ashamed of themselves, having you working for them".
When attempting to speak in Acosta's defence immediately after by referring to Acosta as a "diligent reporter", NBC's Peter Alexander was told "well I'm not a big fan of yours either to be honest" by Trump.
In contentious exchange on migrant caravan, Russian investigation, Pres. Trump tells CNN's Jim Acosta, "I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN...Put down the mic."
Acosta's colleague defended him: "He's a diligent reporter." https://t.co/QF15MHrJt2 pic.twitter.com/6B1H7CDfVz
— ABC News (@ABC) November 7, 2018
The confrontation caused a stir and widespread debate on social media, with the White House subsequently removing Acosta's credentials to enter the President's official residence. The reporter documented on social media the moment where he physically handed his accreditation over a member of the Secret Service.
The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH. As I told the officer, I don’t blame him. I know he’s just doing his job. (Sorry this video is not rightside up) pic.twitter.com/juQeuj3B9R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
In a statement issued by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Acosta was accused of "placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern," regarding the moment where he initially refused to hand back the microphone, and cited that as the primary reason for their decision.
"President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration," Huckabee Sanders later added on Twitter. "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."
Acosta replied, saying the accusation "was a lie," before adding "Don’t believe the lies coming from the WH. Believe in our freedoms. Thank you all for your support. We won’t back down."
CNN have also since defended their Chief White House Correspondent, accusing the White House of banning Acosta in "retaliation for his challenging questions", saying Huckabee 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. Jim Acosta has our full support."
The decision and reasoning has been the subject of intense criticism as a result. Footage shows that contact between Acosta and the woman was minimal at best, as their arms brushed when she attempted to remove the microphone from his grasp.
The incident adds another footnote in the continuing story of Trump's fractious relationship with the media, many members of which he also had run-ins with at the conference beyond merely Acosta. Furthermore, it sets a potentially dangerous precedent, wherein the highest office of a country that values their own First Amendment so highly is banning members of the press for questioning it.