CNN issued a statement on Monday defending its reporter Jim Acosta’s claim that incoming press secretary Sean Spicer threatened to throw him out of the president-elect’s press conference last week if he asked another question.
Spicer has denied that he threatened to throw Acosta out of the news conference, but he told CNN on Sunday that Acosta’s behaviour was “highly unacceptable and inappropriate.”
CNN pushed back against Spicer’s claims in a terse statement: “As we have learned many times, just because Sean Spicer says something doesn’t make it true.
Jim Acosta is a veteran reporter with the utmost integrity and extensive experience in covering both the White House and the President-elect.”
During his press conference at Trump Tower last week, Trump blasted a CNN report that said intelligence officials provided briefing materials informing him of the existence of a dossier containing unverified Russian claims of having compromising information on the incoming president.
Acosta repeatedly pressed Trump to let him ask a question amid his denunciations of CNN:
“Since you’re attacking our news organisation, could you give us a question?” Acosta shouted.
Trump refused, responding that “your organisation is terrible” and telling Acosta to stop being “rude.”
Acosta continued to pressure Trump, who refused and called CNN “fake news.”
Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted shortly after the press conference ended that Acosta’s behaviour, “regardless of party,” was “rude, inappropriate and disrespectful.”
“He owes @realDonaldTrump and his colleagues an apology,” Spicer added.
Acosta replied that Spicer “threatened to throw me out of that news conference if I asked another question.”
CNN, for its part, stood by Acosta’s decision to pressure Trump during the news conference.
“Being persistent and asking tough questions is his job,” CNN said, “and he has our complete support.”
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