The White House said Wednesday it had suspended the press credentials of a CNN reporter who engaged in a heated exchange with President Donald Trump during a briefing.
“I’ll tell you what. CNN should be ashamed of themselves having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person” Trump told reporter Jim Acosta at the White House press briefing.
Acosta, who confirmed on Twitter that he was no longer allowed in the White House, has a history of sparring with the president and CNN is often targeted by Trump.
“When you report fake news, which CNN does, a lot, you are the enemy of the people,” Trump said at the end of his exchange with Acosta.
The president’s swipe came during a tense exchange about a caravan of Central Americans travelling north, which Trump has called an “invasion.” Acosta then switched to asking about the Russia investigation.
In a statement, CNN called the president’s remarks “un-American” and backed Acosta. “A free press is vital to democracy,” the network said.
During the nearly 90-minute press conference Trump also told a black reporter that she had posed “such a racist question” after she asked about whether the president referring to himself as a nationalist was emboldening white nationalism.
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
She accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” referring to a staffer who tried to take the microphone away from Acosta during the fiery back-and-forth.