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White House suspends press credentials of CNN reporter

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

In an unprecedented move, the has suspended the press credentials of a terming his behaviour as "disgusting and outrageous", hours after he engaged in a heated argument with during a press conference.

Defending it chief Jim Acosta, the said the decision is "a threat to democracy".

The White House's move followed a heated exchange between Trump and Acosta who refused the President's orders to sit down and clung to the microphone and persisted with questions about his views on a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the border.

A visibly angry Trump said "that's enough!" and a intern unsuccessfully tried to take the microphone from the

Describing Acosta's behaviour as "disgusting and outrageous", the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, in a statement on Wednesday said, "As a result of today's incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the involved until further notice."

Sanders said Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. "We will, however, never tolerate a placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable, she said.

"It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter's colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question," she said.

Sanders said Trump has given the press more access than any 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 for not being supportive of a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters over the course of an hour and a half including several from the in question," she said.

Meanwhile, the CNN said the revocation of Acosta's pass "was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today's press conference...This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better".

Acosta was stopped by the from entering the White House at about 7 pm.

Former president of the White House Correspondents Association, Jeff Mason, refuted the White House accusation that Acosta placed his hand on a female White House intern.

"I was seated next to Acosta at today's press conference and did not witness him placing his hands on the young intern, as the White House alleges," he tweeted.

Mason, a correspondent, also came forward in defence of his CNN colleague. He said Acosta held on to the microphone as the intern reached for it and later posted a few pictures from the press conference to prove his point.

from The New York Times, who has been covering the White House for 22 years, said, "This is something I have never seen since I started covering the White House in 1996. Other presidents did not fear tough questioning."


The (WHCA) also said such a decision is "unacceptable" and urged the White House that it "immediately reverse its decision".

"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," WHCA president said.

The White House, meanwhile, said it stands by its decision.

"We stand by our decision to revoke this individual's hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behaviour clearly documented in this video," Sanders said, posting a video of the CNN reporter allegedly placing his hand on a young woman.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 08 2018. 10:10 IST
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