After a heated exchange during President Trump’s post-midterm press conference, the White House, in an extraordinary move, revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials Wednesday night. Acosta tweaked Trump, when he questioned the president’s characterization of the caravan of migrants during the campaign as an “invasion.” Trump sparred with the generally punchy reporter briefly, getting in a dig about CNN’s ratings, before trying to move on. During the exchange, Acosta rebuffed an attempt by a press aide to take his mic, saying “excuse me ma’am,” while moving on to another question about the Russia investigation. “That’s enough. That’s enough. … Put down the mic,” Trump responded. “I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. … The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people is horrible.”
Later on Wednesday, in response, the White House yanked Acosta’s press credential, referred to as a “hard pass.”
Acosta took a video of the interaction where he was suddenly denied entry back onto the White House grounds.
The White House issued a statement that emphasized Acosta’s “placing his hands” on the press aide, who was apparently an intern. That is a gross overstatement of the interaction.
Sarah Sanders issued this statement:
CNN pushed back against the White House and its description of events:
It seems unlikely the move is a permanent one, if only because Trump needs CNN in the room in order to speak to his base. The network is basically a Swiss Army knife–like proxy for anything and everything Trump wants to rail against on a given day. Without Acosta or CNN or the White House press corps hounding Trump, it’s harder to play to the conservative sense of grievance that their guy isn’t getting treated fairly. In the short term, the move was more performative than anything really; a chance for the Trump White House to look tough for a base that prizes toughness—real or imagined—above all else, and whose machismo took a hit last night.