White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders lashed out at CNN’s Jim Acosta on Friday hours after a federal judge ordered her to reinstate his press credentials, saying networks need to send other correspondents to cover President Trump if “certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults.”
“We’ll work with our team on that and certainly moving into Thanksgiving holiday we’ll see how long that process takes, but I think there are some just standard practices,” Sanders said on Fox News in an interview conducted by her father, Mike Huckabee, a former network host who was filling in for Sean Hannity.
“I think the very basic minimum is that if certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be,” she added.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of Trump, granted CNN’s request on Friday to restore Acosta’s hard press pass after they were revoked last week following a contentious press conference with President Trump.
Kelly said that Acosta’s Fifth Amendment rights to due process were violated, however, he did not issue a ruling on whether the reporter’s First Amendment rights were violated.
Trump told Fox’s Chris Wallace in an interview on Friday that if Acosta “misbehaves” at a future press conference, “we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.”
“Yeah, its fine, I mean it’s not a big deal,” Trump told Wallace of Kelly’s order. “What they said, though, is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct etc. etc. 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.”
Sanders faced accusations from dozens of reporters last week that she shared an edited video of an incident between Acosta and an administration aide at Trump’s post-midterm news conference on Nov. 7 press conference.
Sanders shared the video, which only shows a few seconds from the interaction, on her official Twitter account to justify the White House’s decision to revoke Acosta’s press credentials after his heated back-and-forth exchange with the president.
Hours earlier, Sanders released a statement falsely accusing Acosta of “placing his hands” on a female White House intern during an earlier news conference with the president.
In a statement posted on Twitter, CNN challenged Sanders’s account and argued that the revocation of Acosta’s access to the White House “was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference.”
“Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied,” the cable news network said of the explanation. “This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.”
Acosta tweeted that the accusation is “a lie.”
Slowed-down video footage from the encounter clearly shows that the female intern was the one who touched Acosta at least four different times while attempting to rip a microphone out of his hand. As the intern attempted to grab at the mic, Acosta politely told the intern, “Pardon me, ma’am.”
Reuters reporter Jeff Mason tweeted: “I was seated next to @Acosta at today’s press conference and did not witness him “placing his hands” on the young intern, as the White House alleges. He held on to the microphone as she reached for it. The @Reuters pictures below depict what happened accurately.”
Matt Dornic, CNN’s vice president of communications and digital partnerships, said it was “absolutely shameful” for Sanders to share the video.
“History will not be kind to you,” Dornic tweeted.
The White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement late Wednesday that it “strongly objects to the Trump Administration’s decision to use U.S. Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship.”
“We urge the White House to immediately reverse this weak and misguided action,” the group added.
Earlier in the day, Acosta engaged in a contentious back-and-forth with President Trump after challenging his use of the word “invasion” to describe a migrant caravan of roughly 4,000 Central American immigrants who are walking through Mexico to claim asylum in the U.S.
“I think you should let me run the country and let you run CNN,” Trump lashed out at the journalist. “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”
“You are a very rude person,” Trump continued. “The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible,” he said, referring to the White House press secretary. “You shouldn’t treat people that way.”