Just hours after President Donald Trump called CNN political reporter Jim Acosta a "rude, terrible person" during a post-midterm press conference, the White House suspended the journalist's credentials on Wednesday night – a move that prompted outrage from the cable network and press freedom advocates called a "clear attack on the First Amendment."
The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH. As I told the officer, I don’t blame him. I know he’s just doing his job. (Sorry this video is not rightside up) pic.twitter.com/juQeuj3B9R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
As CNN reports:
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced in a statement that Acosta would be stripped of what's known as a "hard pass," which gives him access to the White House grounds.
Around the same time, Acosta was stopped at the White House's Pennsylvania Avenue gate where reporters usually enter. He was heading back to the White House for a live shot on "Anderson Cooper 360."
The White House Corespondents Association, which advocates on behalf of the press corps, issued the following statement in response:
WHCA statement on White House decision on credentials. pic.twitter.com/bukK7CGu2G
— WHCA (@whca) November 8, 2018
In a statement by the network, CNN said: "This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support."
When Sanders later tweeted a statement saying Trump "believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration" and that the suspension was due to the reporter's "putting his hands on" an White House press intern, Acosta simply responded: "This is a lie."
Meanwhile, critics of the move—including fellow journalists—unleashed on the White House online:
Trump moves further toward authoritarianism:
1) Fires Sessions & names a lackey as Acting AG,
2) Threatens war with Congress if it begins legitimate investigations into presidential wrongdoing.
3) Bars a respected journalist, Acosta, from the White Househttps://t.co/p5jtz4Vghn
— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) November 8, 2018
This is a further attack not only on our constitution but on the 1st amendment, Democracy But further attacks on the Latinx people!! We must unite against his racism! His attacks on Latin immigrants, Mexicans and Puerto Rico #1stAmendment #FreedomOfThePress @Acosta https://t.co/BrX8hNrZXF
— John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) November 8, 2018
PEN America is suing President Trump for banning certain journalists from covering the White House and threatening to revoke credentials; now he has gone a step further by revoking the press pass of @CNN's @Acosta, in a clear attack on the First Amendment. https://t.co/BdIjmQ63cD
— PEN America (@PENamerican) November 8, 2018
"Jim Acosta" Just had his press pass ripped up. This is a blatant attempt to shut down the FREE PRESS @PressSec LIED and said @JimAcosta "touched" an intern clearly said intern was GRABBING at Acosta's mic. https://t.co/NGPJhCJpOU #FreedomOfThePress #JimAcosta
— Randi Rhodes (@RandiRhodes) November 8, 2018
I don’t care if you think the press corps sucks, if you think Acosta is a preening self-promoter. This isn’t a “distraction,” it’s an abuse of power and anyone in media who scolds those who give a shit should consider a different line of work.
— Liliana Segura (@LilianaSegura) November 8, 2018