The White House has revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials following his heated exchange with President Donald Trump during a press conference Wednesday.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained the decision, claiming Acosta put his hands on the White House intern, who was trying to take the microphone away from him.
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. 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,” Sanders wrote.
“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,” Sanders continued adding that President Trump has “given the press more access than any President in history.”
“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 supporting a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters.”
“The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it’s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration,” Sanders continued in reference to CNN’s defense of Acosta.
Concluding her message Sanders added: “As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.”
She later tweeted a video which she claimed proved he behaved inappropriately which zoomed in on Acosta and the intern’s hands.
We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video. pic.twitter.com/T8X1Ng912y
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
CNN said in a statement that the “President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far.”
“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect free press, he has a worn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalist.”
This is a lie. https://t.co/FastFfWych
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH. As I told the officer, I don’t blame him. I know he’s just doing his job. (Sorry this video is not rightside up) pic.twitter.com/juQeuj3B9R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
In response to claims he “put hands’ on the intern, Acosta simply wrote, “This is a lie.”
Acosta also documented the moment his media passes were confiscated in a video shared on Twitter.
“The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH. As I told the officer, I don’t blame him. I know he’s just doing his job,” Acosta tweeted.
President Trump to Jim @Acosta: “You should let me run the country. You run CNN.”
“That’s enough. Put down the mic. CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude terrible person.” pic.twitter.com/GR9TIbKUok
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 7, 2018
In the clip, Acosta can be seen trying to enter the White House grounds but is denied by an officer who said, “I was just told to do it” before taking away his passes.
The White House Correspondents’ Association has also responded to Trump’s treatment of Acosta and the decision to prohibit him from entering the White House.
“The White House Correspondents’ Association strongly objects to the Trump Administration’s decision to use US Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship,” WHCA said in a statement given to PEOPLE.
“Revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offense and is unacceptable. Journalists may use a range of approaches to carry out their jobs and the WHCA does not police the tone or frequency of the questions its members ask of powerful senior government officials, including the President.”
“Such interactions, however uncomfortable they may appear to be, help define the strength of our national institutions. We urge the White House to immediately reverse this weak and misguided action.”
“We encourage anyone with doubts that this reaction was disproportionate to the perceived offense to view the video of the events from earlier today.”
During the press conference, in which Trump spoke on the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections, Acosta addressed the migrant caravan of nearly 4,000 Central Americans, who are walking through Mexico seeking asylum in the U.S.
In the past, Trump has made comments, which have since been refuted, that terrorists and gang members are among the travelers.
In response— as captured by C-SPAN— Trump began, “Here we go.”
Acosta then asked the president if calling the caravan an “invasion” negatively characterized immigrants, to which Trump answered that he wanted them to “come in legally.”
Refusing to give up his microphone, Acosta pressed on, interrogating the president about the special counsel Robert Mueller’s potential indictments resulting from his investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The White House intern eventually took the mic from Aosta as Trump berated him.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself for having you working for them,” Trump said. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”