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CNN reporter barred from White House following heated exchange with Trump

Acosta and Trump were involved in a heated debate [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 November, 2018

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CNN reporter Jim Acosta has had his White House press credentials withdrawn after he engaged in a heated debate with Donald Trump.
CNN reporter Jim Acosta has been barred from the White House, following a heated exchange with US President Donald Trump at a press conference on Wednesday.

"The White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders hours later, referring to Acosta.

Acosta said on Wednesday evening that he had been denied entry to the White House.

"I've just been denied entrance to the WH (White House). Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the WH grounds for my 8pm hit," he tweeted.

"The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH (White House). As I told the officer, I don't blame him. I know he's just doing his job," he said, posting a video of the incident.

Sanders tweeted the reasons Acosta was allegedly barred.

"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," she tweeted.

Acosta swiftly denied this account saying, "this is a lie".

A video shows the young aide attempting to grab the microphone from Acosta's hands, with the reporter clinging onto it.

The incident took place during a heated contest between the two men, when Trump shouted down Acosta.

A furious Trump directed a number of insults as the CNN reporter, calling him a "rude, terrible person" and an "enemy of the people", during a televised rant at the leading US broadcaster. 

"Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be higher," Trump said, when questioned by Acosta on divisive language used by the president regarding immigrants.

When asked why he had demonised a caravan of families fleeing violence in Central America heading for the US border, Trump responded: "No, I want them to come into the country. But they have to come in legally."

Trump has faced criticism for referring to the caravan during mid-term elections as "an invasion", and endorsed an advertisement on the issue that was rejected by most broadcasters for being racist.

Acosta told Trump during the press conference, "They are hundreds of miles away. That is not an invasion."

Trump was unable to hide his anger, after numerous run-ins with the reporter and his media group.

"That's enough, put down the mic" Trump said, and walked away from his own podium, as if leaving.

Trump's aides attempted to grab the mic from the reporter's hand, who continued to question the president.

Waving his finger at the reporter, Trump then said: "I'll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN."

NBC reporter Peter Alexander then took the mic for the next question, defending Acosta as a "diligent reporter".

"I'm not a fan of yours either," Trump responded. "To be honest. You aren't the best."

Looking back at Acosta, who again rose up in his own defence, Trump added: "When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people."

In a statement, CNN condemned Trump's remarks.

"This president's ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American," the network said, voicing its support for Acosta and "journalists everywhere".

An association representing the White House press corps on Wednesday said the decision to block Acosta's credentials was "out of line" and "unacceptable".

"The White House Correspondents' Association strongly objects to the Trump Administration's decision to use US Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship," the group said in a statement.

"We urge the White House to immediately reverse this weak and misguided action."

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