On Wednesday night at about 7:46 p.m. ET, CNN reporter Jim Actosta learned the Trump Administration banned him from entering the White House. Acosta took to Twitter to share the news and film a member of the US Secret Service asking for his hard pass, which makes it easier for reporters who are frequently in and out of the White House. The revocation came after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused Acosta of inappropriately “placing his hands” on an intern during a press conference the same day. Acosta, who has been backed up by others, has denied this is true, and in a thread, Sanders asserted that Trump “believes in a free press.”
Sanders later showed a video, which appears to be doctored, of the moment when a White House intern tried to take a mic away from Acosta.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Trump called on Acosta who asked the president to elaborate why he had used language that demonizes the immigrant caravan making its way through Mexico. The media has already accused Trump of using the caravan as a tool to invoke fear in his base, and therefore, push them to vote in the midterm elections. Before the election, the Trump Administration ran a racist ad about the caravan that even Fox News pulled from the air.
“As you know, Mr. President, the caravan is not an invasion,” Acosta said, according to CNN. “It’s a group of migrant moving up from Central America towards the border with the US–”
Trump provided a sarcastic reply, “Thank you for telling me that, I appreciate it.”
Acosta challenged him, “Why did you characterize it as such?”
“Because I consider it an invasion,” Trump said. “You and I have a difference of opinion.”
“But do you think that you demonized immigrants?” Acosta responded.
“No, not at all,” Trump said. “I want them to come into the country. But they have to come in legally.” (Asylum seekers must reach the US border and apply for the protection.)
Acosta also took him to task on the ad that ran prior to the midterm elections. “They’re hundreds of miles away, though,” he said. “They’re hundreds and hundreds of miles away. That’s not an invasion.”
And that’s when Trump seemed to have enough. “You know what? I think you should,” he said, and pointed at Acosta. “Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN. And if you did it well, your ratings would be much better…. OK, that’s enough.
That’s when the White House staffer moved to take the mic from him, which Acosta held on to. He said “Pardon me, ma’am,” and tried to continue asking Trump questions. “If I can ask, on the Russia investigation, are you concerned that you may have indictments coming down–,” he said, before Trump cut him off.
“I am not concerned about anything with the Russian investigation because it is a hoax,” Trump replied. “That is enough, put down the mic.”
Trump has had a tumultuous relationship with the press. He has often called members of the media liars and described their work as “fake news.”
As the White House stands by its decision, other journalists have spoken out against Acosta. Here’s what they had to say.