President Trump said CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is “bad for the country” on Wednesday when asked about a lawsuit designed to restore the reporter’s press credential.
The Trump administration has said Acosta “disrupted the fair and orderly administration of a press conference” when he refused to give up the microphone last week during a heated confrontation with President Trump. Acosta’s “hard pass” was revoked hours later.
CNN filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration on Tuesday, demanding that it be restored – and the White House has since countered. The Daily Caller asked Trump if his administration should win the lawsuit during an exclusive Oval Office interview on Wednesday.
“Jim Acosta is just somebody who gets up and grandstands, he doesn’t even know what he’s asking you half of the time.”
“I don’t know, we should … We’ll see how the court rules. Is it freedom of the press when somebody comes in and starts screaming questions and won’t sit down,” Trump told The Daily Caller. “Jim Acosta is just somebody who gets up and grandstands, he doesn’t even know what he’s asking you half of the time.”
Acosta has been a pest to Trump and members of his administration since the president took office. Trump famously pointed directly at Acosta and called him “fake news” during his first press conference after winning the 2016 election. Since then, Acosta has gotten into combative arguments with other members of the administration including Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller.
“I really think that when you have guys like Acosta, I think they’re bad for the country,” Trump told the Caller. “He’s just an average guy who’s a grandstander who’s got the guts to stand up and shout.”
"He’s just an average guy who’s a grandstander who’s got the guts to stand up and shout.”
CNN has claimed that pulling Acosta’s access violated his First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights to due process – but Press Secretary Sanders called the lawsuit “more grandstanding from CNN." In a 28-page response, White House lawyers put legalese behind Sanders' charge and asked the court to dismiss the network’s claim.
“No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House and the President need not survive First Amendment scrutiny whenever he exercises his discretion to deny an individual journalist one of the many hundreds of passes granting on-demand access to the White House complex,” the motion stated.
Earlier Wednesday, Fox News President Jay Wallace issued a statement about the situation.
“Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people,” Wallace said.