Ban slammed after Trump clashes with CNN reporter

Top News | 9 Nov 2018

The White House has suspended the press pass of a CNN reporter who sparred with Donald Trump at a news conference in which the US president branded the journalist an "enemy of the people."

A visibly angry Trump had called Jim Acosta a "rude, terrible person," after the CNN correspondent refused Trump's orders to sit down and give up the microphone a day after the US midterm vote.

"The White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders hours later. Acosta then tweeted that he had been denied White House entry.

The heated exchange began after the prominent journalist clung to the microphone and persisted with questions about a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the US border.

Trump said "that's enough!" and a White House intern unsuccessfully tried to take the microphone from the journalist.

"President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration," 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. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable," she said.

Acosta shot back at the accusation of misconduct, tweeting "this is a lie" - as his network and several Washington journalists who had been at the press conference voiced support for him.

"Secretary Sanders lied," CNN said, adding the ban was "done in retaliation for challenging questions."

Sanders "provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened," the US cable network said. "This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support."

An association representing the Washington press corps urged the White

House to "immediately reverse this weak and misguided action."

It was the latest in a long history of fiery run-ins between Trump and Acosta.

At the conference Trump, when asked if he had "demonized immigrants" during the midterm campaign, replied: "No, I want them to come into the country. But they have to come in legally."

Acosta persisted. But Trump snapped. "I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be higher," he said.

AGENCE-FRANCE-PRESSE

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