White House Yanks Acosta's Press Pass After His 'Absolutely Unacceptable' Behavior at Press Conference
The White House suspended CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass "until further notice" Wednesday evening, hours after he aggressively badgered President Trump and refused to give up his microphone when a female White House intern tried to retrieve it from him.
"I've just been denied entrance to the WH," Acosta complained in a tweet Wednesday night. "Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the WH grounds for my 8pm hit."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that the White House had suspended Acosta's press credentials in a subsequent statement, admonishing him for "placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern" and calling his aggressive behavior "absolutely unacceptable."
Acosta called Sanders' statement "a lie."
"Contrary to CNN’s assertions, there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today. Only they would attack the President for not being supportive of a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters over the course of an hour and a half — including several from the reporter in question," Sanders said.
During the news conference earlier Wednesday, Acosta and the president got into a heated back and forth about the president's rhetoric surrounding the migrant caravan.
“Honestly, I think you should let me run the country and you run CNN,” the president told Acosta at one point. After Trump had indicated that he was moving on, a young female staffer tried to take the mic away from Acosta to give to another reporter, but the CNN correspondent refused to give it up.
Trump angrily exclaimed, “That’s enough!”
"The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it is an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration," Sanders said.
In a statement of their own Wednesday night, CNN said that Acosta's suspension "was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today's press conference" and claimed Sanders "lied" in her explanation of what happened.
"She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened," CNN said. "This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support."
However, there is no doubt at all that Acosta put his hands on the young intern, pushing her arm down as she reached for the mic, as this slow-motion video shows:
American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp tweeted, "I personally received calls from wh reporters who believe the behavior from several reporters today was indefensible. They just can't say it."
During the contentious confrontation, the frustrated president called Acosta "a rude, terrible person" who "should be ashamed of himself."
"I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them," Trump said. “The way you treat Sarah Huckabee [Sanders] is horrible. And the way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way."