The battle between President Donald Trump’s White House and CNN’s Jim Acosta became incendiary Wednesday.
After a contentious exchange between Trump and Acosta at a press conference Wednesday afternoon — one day after the midterm elections — Acosta was prevented from entering the White House on Wednesday night.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders, in a statement, seemed to suggest the revocation of his access was because he touched a White House intern.
Acosta tweeted Wednesday night: “This is a lie.”
The statement from Sanders said “we will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.” She did not say to whom she was referring, but the implication was that it was Acosta.
Video of the press conference shows a young woman, presumably the intern, trying to take away the microphone as Acosta questions Trump. Acosta seems to make contact with her arm.
On Thursday, Sanders said 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,” she said, according to a pool report.
Here is the text of Sarah Sanders’ full statement on Wednesday night:
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history. Contrary to CNN’s assertions, there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today. Only they would attack the President for not being supportive of a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters over the course of an hour and a half – including several from the reporter in question. 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. As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.”