On Wednesday evening at roughly 7:45 p.m., the Secret Service confiscated his pass. Earlier Wednesday, Acosta had questioned Mr. Trump on his rhetoric on the caravan moving toward the U.S. border. Mr. Trump grew angry with Acosta and tried to move on to another question. A White House intern came to take Acosta’s microphone, but Acosta moved away and said “pardon me, ma’am” and tried to continue questioning.
Mr. Trump refused to answer, saying “put down the mic.” After the mic was passed to NBC’s Peter Alexander, Mr. Trump continued his tirade against Acosta.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them,” Mr. Trump said. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.
When Alexander said “I think that’s unfair,” Mr. Trump continued to address Acosta, saying “the way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
Mr. Trump told Alexander to “go ahead,” but when Alexander defended Acosta, Mr. Trump said “I’m not a big fan of yours either … you aren’t the best.”
Acosta tried to stand up and say something, Mr. Trump told him to “sit down.”
“When you report fake news, as CNN does a lot, you are an enemy of the people,” Mr. Trump said.
The White House said it was suspending Acosta’s “hard pass,” which allows him press access to the White House, because it will “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.” But video recorded at the press briefing shows Acosta putting his arm on top of hers as she tried to take the microphone away from him. It appeared to be an accident since he said, “pardon me, ma’am” and moved away from her.
Acosta tweeted the White House’s statement was a “lie.”
CNN issued a statement saying White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders “lied” in her statement.
“This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better,” CNN’s statement said. “Jim Acosta has our full support.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association issued a statement saying it “strongly objects to the Trump administration’s decision to use U.S. Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship.”
Sanders emphasized in follow-up statements that the White House stands by the decision.
“The question is: did the reporter make contact or not? The video is clear, he did. We stand by our statement,” Sanders told the press pool.