A U.S. judge has ordered the White House to restore access to a reporter of the CNN who was barred from the seat of power.
The White House suspended the press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Wednesday, November 7, hours after President Trump took issue with questions Acosta asked at a news conference.
The move to punish Acosta by removing his access to the White House is believed to be unprecedented. The Trump administration barred another CNN reporter from attending an open media event in July but until now has not gone as far as removing a credential, known as a “hard pass,” which enables a journalist to enter the White House grounds.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders cited Acosta’s brief confrontation with a White House press aide during Trump’s midday news conference as the reason for suspending his press pass “until further notice.”
During the 90-minute session at the White House, Trump snapped at Acosta after the reporter asked whether the president had “demonized immigrants” by calling a caravan of Central American migrants “an invasion.” After a long and tense back-and-forth, a female White House intern tried to take the microphone from Acosta.
Acosta held onto it and raised an arm to shield it, in the process making contact with the aide. “Pardon me, ma’am,” he said to her.
[‘You’re a very rude person.’ ‘That’s enough.’ ‘Sit down.’ Trump’s news conference turns hostile.]
After their exchange, Trump told Acosta: “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
On Wednesday night, Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” and said it was on those grounds that Acosta’s press pass was being suspended.
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” Sanders said in a statement. “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.”
Video of the exchange showed otherwise. On Twitter, Acosta responded to the press secretary’s statement with, simply: “This is a lie.”