- President Donald Trump says he has a simple solution on how to move forward with Jim Acosta, the CNN correspondent he barred from the White House after numerous confrontations.
- The White House, Trump told Fox News, will come up with a code of conduct for reporters, and if Acosta breaks the rules, it will boot him out.
- A lawsuit by CNN prompted a federal judge to restore Acosta’s press pass after the White House suspended it following a testy exchange in which Acosta refused to give up the microphone at a news conference.
- CNN’s Brian Stelter believes the White House will try to boot Acosta again by the end of the month.
President Donald Trump has explained how plans to move forward with Jim Acosta, the CNN correspondent he barred from the White House after numerous confrontations.
A federal judge on Friday granted CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order to restore Acosta’s press pass granting him access to the White House.
“It’s fine, I mean, it’s not a big deal,” Trump said of the court decision in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
The White House responded that it would come up with a code of conduct for the press at briefings, which hadn’t existed before.
“What they said though was that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, et cetera, et cetera,” Trump said. “We’re doing that. We’re going to write them up right now – it’s not a big deal.”
“And if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out, or we’ll stop the news conference,” Trump added.
After Trump called on Acosta at a November 7 news conference, Acosta asked multiple questions about immigration and the Russia investigation. Trump, seeking to move on after answering Acosta’s initial question, called Acosta a “rude, terrible person” as Acosta held on to the microphone and kept talking while a White House intern tried to take it back.
Trump told Fox News he had numerous ideas for dealing with Acosta’s confrontational brand of questioning, which has often led to combative encounters at news conferences.
“We’ll have rules of decorum,” Trump said. “You know, you can’t keep asking questions. You have – we had a lot of reporters in that room, many, many reporters in that room, and they were unable to ask questions because this guy gets up and starts doing what he’s supposed to be doing for him and for CNN and, you know, just shouting out questions.”
CNN argued in its lawsuit that revoking Acosta’s press pass violated the First Amendment right of freedom of the press as well as CNN’s and Acosta’s Fifth Amendment right to due process.
Code of conduct
Trump was vague on the nature of the new code of conduct, and it’s unclear whether it would pertain only to behaviour at press briefings or whether it would apply to a journalist’s outside behaviour too.
Trump also didn’t mention whether the White House would publish a code of conduct for its staff. In a tweet over the weekend, Trump misspelled Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff’s last name so that it sounded like the swear word for excrement.
Perhaps hinting at what a code of conduct might contain, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told Fox that a letter sent to CNN laid out “what we think were some of the missteps that their reporter made at the press conference on November 7.”
“From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month,” CNN’s Brian Stelter wrote in his Reliable Sources newsletter.
Asked by Fox News’ Wallace why he even called on Acosta at news conferences if he believed him so rude, Trump said he had asked Sanders the same thing.
Trump did, however, describe another plan to attack CNN.
“I think one of the things we’ll do is maybe turn the camera off that faces them because then they don’t have any air time, although I’ll probably be sued for that and maybe win or lose it, who knows?” Trump said. “I mean, with this stuff, you never know what’s going to happen.”