President Trump is defending his decision to revoke CNN White House chief correspondent Jim Acosta’s credentials — and has, in fact, doubled down on the move, stating that more reporters may be dismissed from the West Wing if they do not show some respect.
Acosta’s suspension has become a hot-button issue, with the president’s staunchest supporters being critical of the mercurial questioning that he usually presents to administration officials, and those who sympathize with the veteran journalist believing, as Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post does, that his ouster poses a threat to the First Amendment of the Constitution. The move especially became a point of contention after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out a video of Acosta’s contentious interaction with Trump, in which it appeared that he got physical with a young female aide.
During his usual briefing with the media out by the White House Lawn on Friday, November 9, President Trump was asked for his take on Sanders releasing a recording that experts, cited by the Associated Press, believe to have been doctored. The president rejected the report as bogus while contending that the clip simply showed a close-up of actions which Acosta took as the aide went to reach for his microphone. He’d concede that Acosta’s momentary refusal to give the mic over wasn’t “overly horrible,” but maintained that it was certainly “not nice” either.
Amid a week of combative exchanges with reporters Jim Acosta, April Ryan and others, Pres. Trump says, "You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect." https://t.co/yhJ3QFg9C3 pic.twitter.com/DWXlFpbgMz— ABC News (@ABC) November 9, 2018
After charging that the correspondent’s characterization of Sanders’ video was an example of “dishonest reporting,” President Trump zeroed in on Acosta, the Huffington Post reports. The President questioned Acosta’s professionalism and intelligence, adding that Acosta gets paid to do what he does — and positing that he imagines that Acosta would play the role of agitator even if it Ronald Reagan was in power. Trump was particularly defensive of Sanders, asserting — as he has a number of times over the past few days — that Acosta often comes off as abusive towards the press secretary during her daily briefings.
President Trump would segue from addressing Acosta to slamming the National Urban Radio Network’s April Ryan for allegedly displaying the same kind of behavior. As he did while speaking on Acosta, Trump underscored his point of view that Ryan has been getting incentivized monetarily for being confrontational with him and his officials. The President went so far as to label her a “loser,” who is clueless about her job — but not before he put other reporters standing within earshot on notice that they may face the same repercussions that Acosta is now facing for their unwillingness to show decorum.
“When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me. This is a very special place. You have to treat the White House with Respect. You have to treat the Presidency with respect,” Trump prefaced his remarks on Ryan by stating.