A White House staff member reaches for the microphone held by CNN's Jim Acosta as he questions Donald Trump during a news conference following Tuesday's midterm US congressional elections at the White House on Wednesday. -Reuters
The White House on Wednesday suspended the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta after he and U.S. President Donald Trump had a heated confrontation during a news conference.
They began sparring after Acosta asked Trump about the caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern US border. When Acosta tried to follow up with another question, Trump said, "That's enough!" and a female White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from Acosta.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement accusing Acosta of "placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a WhiteHouse intern," calling it "absolutely unacceptable."
The interaction between Acosta and the intern was brief, and Acosta appeared to brush her arm as she reached for the microphone and he tried to hold onto it. "Pardon me, ma'am," he told her.Acosta tweeted that Sanders' statement that he put his hands on the aide was "a lie."
CNN said in a statement that the White House revoked Acosta's press pass out of "retaliation for his challenging questions" on Wednesday, and the network accused Ms. Sanders of lying about Mr. Acosta's actions.
"(Sanders) provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better," CNN said. "Jim Acosta has our full support."CNN said Trump's attacks on the press have gone too far.
"They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American," CNN tweeted after the exchange. "While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere."
In announcing Acosta's suspension, Sanders said, "The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it is an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this administration."
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