The White House revoked the press badge of CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta Wednesday following a tense exchange with President Donald Trump where the president called him a “rude, terrible person.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced the unexpected move Wednesday evening, explaining the decision was a result of both Acosta’s behavior and him yanking back when a White House intern tried to take his microphone.
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” Sanders said. “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.”
The move is just the latest in the president’s escalating war against the news media, which he blamed Wednesday as one of the reasons Republicans fell short in midterm elections. While news organizations and certain reporters have been barred from events, Acosta is almost certainly the most high-profile reporter to be barred from doing his job in the Trump-era.
Sanders said the “conduct is absolutely unacceptable” and Acosta’s refusal to pass the microphone was “completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues” as it was not allowing them an opportunity to ask questions.
“As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice,” Sanders said.