White House bars CNN reporter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 09, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, November 09, 2018

Verbal Duel with Trump in Press Meet

White House bars CNN reporter

The White House on Wednesday suspended the press pass of a CNN reporter who sparred with Donald Trump at a news conference, during which the president branded him the "enemy of the people."

A visibly angry Trump called reporter Jim Acosta a "rude, terrible person," after the CNN White House correspondent refused the president's orders to sit down and yield the microphone during the conference one day after the US midterm election.

"The White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders hours later, referring to Acosta, who then tweeted that he had been denied White House entry.

The heated exchange began after Acosta clung to the microphone and persisted with questions about the president's repeated and angry denunciation of a caravan of poor Central American migrants making their way through Mexico to the US border. He asked Trump why he has characterised it as an invasion.

Trump said "that's enough!" and a White House intern tried in vain to take the microphone from the CNN journalist.

"President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration," Sanders said in her 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," she said.

Acosta shot back at the accusation of misconduct, tweeting "this is a lie" -- as his network and a number of Washington journalists who had been at the press conference voiced support for him and denied the White House allegations that he touched the intern.

An association representing the Washington press corps urged the White House to immediately reverse "this weak and misguided action."

At the conference Trump, when asked if he had "demonized immigrants" during the midterms campaign, replied: "No, I want them to come into the country. But they have to come in legally."

Acosta persisted, saying: "They are hundreds of miles away. That is not an invasion."

At that point, the president snapped.

"Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be higher," Trump said.

As the reporter continued, Trump declared: "That's enough, put down the mic" and walked away from his own podium, as if leaving.

The intern attempted to take the microphone from Acosta, who persisted and tried to shout out one last question.

Waving his finger, Trump berated him.

"I'll tell you what. CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN," he said.

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