Trump Suspends Credentials of CNN Contributor for Trying to Start a Fight With Seb Gorka
On Friday afternoon, the White House suspended the press credentials of Brian Karem, senior White House reporter for Playboy and a CNN contributor, after he seemingly tried to start a fight with Seb Gorka, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump. Playboy announced it had retained legal counsel to fight the suspension, hiring the same lawyer who got CNN's Jim Acosta reinstated.
"Received an email today shortly before 5 p.m. from the WH: as of Monday afternoon my press pass is suspended for 30 days," Karem tweeted. "Yes. I can and will appeal this decision."
CNN's Brian Stelter added more information, explaining that the White House letter specifically mentioned Karem's behavior in the Rose Garden on July 11 — the tussle with Gorka. After Trump's office suspended Acosta's hard pass (which gives a journalist access to the White House), a judge last fall ruled that a hard pass cannot be suspended without due process. The warning Karem received is a "preliminary decision," which gives Karem a few days to submit a response.
The tussle with Gorka came at the White House social media summit last month. News coverage originally focused on Gorka, but PJ Media's Nicholas Ballasy captured video showing Karem's attack on attendees, calling them "eager for demonic possession." Jim Hanson showed the moments before Gorka confronted Karem — the CNN contributor had said, "Come on over and talk with me, brother. We can go outside and have a long conversation," with menacing body language.
"Playboy and [Brian Karem] have retained [Ted Boutrous] in this dispute with the White House. Boutrous successfully represented CNN and [Jim Acosta] in last fall's court fight," Stelter announced on Twitter.
Gorka thanked Trump and Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham for suspending Karem's hard pass. "Thank you [Donald Trump], thank you [Stephanie Grisham]. On behalf of American who've had enough of Fake News pundits like [Brian Karem]," he tweeted.
"Don't be sad, Brian," Gorka added, echoing the Rose Garden crowd before Karem taunted him.
As for the hard pass, Gorka gave him some advice. "Don’t be a punk and you may get it back. Maybe not. PUNK," he added.
Gorka did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment about Playboy retaining a lawyer. This story will be updated with any response.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.