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White House defends decision to revoke access of CNN's Jim Acosta
09 November 2018, 06:25 | Darnell Patrick
Trump told Acosta to sit down and demanded someone take away his microphone. Image AFPMore
The shocking exchange came as Acosta was asking the president about the migrant caravan.
As the reporter continued, Mr Trump declared: "That's enough, put down the mic" and walked away from his own podium, as if leaving.
"If the White House Press Corps doesn't do anything about the Acosta situation right now, if they don't boycott or take a stand, we are on the road to full authoritarianism", actor Kumail Nanjiani said, apparently with total sincerity.
"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", she said.
Sanders confirmed Acosta's claim and the White House Correspondents' Association - of which Fox News is a member - quickly released its own statement condemning the decision to revoke Acosta's credential. "You are a rude, bad person".
In a statement, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, "the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice".
"It's such a hostile media", Trump said after ordering reporter April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks to sit down when she tried to ask him a question. "This conduct is absolutely unacceptable".
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"It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter's colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question", she said.
"Well I'm not a big fan of yours either", Trump said. "We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video", she wrote.
"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". "Having said that, I am troubled by pulling the hard pass because-you can argue he was a jerk and he deserves it, but obviously at a certain point you begin to wonder ..." "Distract, make Jim Acosta the story and you don't have to talk about global warming, taxes for rich people", she added.
The truly insidious thing is that the White House wants us to debate something that's totally clear: Acosta did nothing wrong, and the White House press secretary shared a manipulated video.
Acosta repeatedly presses Sanders in her rare briefings to clarify quotes and policy from the president.
Other organizations and individual journalists have followed suit, expressing outrage both about the barring of Acosta and about Trump's ongoing efforts to undermine a free press. It purportedly shows the moment a White House intern attempted to take a microphone from Acosta during a heated exchange with the president.
Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason directly contradicted the White House account. The newspaper said that if Sanders was so offended by physical contact, "what did she have to say when her boss praised as "my kind of guy" Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana, who was sentenced to anger management classes and community service for body-slamming a Guardian reporter last spring?"
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