President Donald Trump rebuked CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Friday while speaking with reporters on the White House lawn, calling him an “unprofessional guy” with a “loud voice” who doesn’t treat White House officials “with respect.”
The White House yanked Acosta’s press credentials after his controversial conduct during the fiery briefing with Trump on Wednesday.
Acosta began his series of questions by saying he wanted to “challenge” Trump on his decision to call the latest Central American migrant caravan traveling to the U.S. up through Mexico an “invasion.”
“As you know, Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion. It’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.,” Acosta said on Wednesday, pushing his own personal opinion and not exactly asking a “question” of the president.
Trump eventually said to him, after some heated back and forth, “Honestly, I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better” — before trying to move along to another reporter.
But Acosta initially refused to give up the microphone to anyone else and continued asking questions.
“That’s enough. That’s enough … Put down the mic,” Trump snapped.
The president also said, “CNN should be ashamed of itself [for] having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN … You’re a very rude person,” added Trump.
Video clips also showed an unnamed female White House intern unsuccessfully attempting to reclaim the microphone from Acosta.
But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted out a particular video, which apparently had been doctored to appear worse — showing Acosta swatting away the intern when she tried to take his microphone away.
Yet even in the undoctored video, Acosta can be seen trying to pushing away the intern’s arm as she tried to reach for the microphone after the president clearly said, “That’s enough” to Acosta. She was simply trying to do her job, while Acosta hung onto the mic and would not hand it over.
“We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video,” Sanders tweeted.
“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 also wrote.
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
When asked by a reporter on Friday “how long” he was “going to keep Jim Acosta in the penalty box,” Trump replied, “I think Jim Acosta is a very unprofessional man.”
“He does this with everybody. He gets paid to do that. You know, he gets paid to burst in. He’s a very unprofessional guy,” Trump said. “Look, I don’t think he’s a smart person, but he’s got a loud voice.”
The president also warned that “others” could have their press passes revoked as well if they engaged in similar behavior.
“And as far as I’m concerned, I haven’t made that decision, but it could be others also. When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me,” Trump insisted. “You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect.”
Trump also called out Acosta for his well-documented and theatrical spats with Sanders during the normal course of press briefings.
“If you’ve ever seen him dealing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it’s a disgrace and he does it for, you know, the reason — the same thing with April Ryan,” Trump said, referring to the CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.
“I watch her get up — I mean, you talk about somebody that’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. She gets publicity and then she gets the pay raise or she gets a contract with, I think, CNN, but she’s very nasty and she shouldn’t be,” Trump added.
“You’ve got to treat the White House and the office of the presidency with respect.”