US Politics

White House says CNN reporter banned for 'placing his hands' on intern

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The White House has suspended the press pass of reporter Jim Acosta after he clashed with Donald Trump.

CNN correspondent Jim Acosta has been banned from the White House after tense exchange with President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

"I've just been denied entrance to the WH. Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the WH grounds for my 8pm hit," Mr Acosta tweeted.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the news tweeting, "as a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice".

Ms Sanders said the decision was made as a result of Acosta "placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern".

At the earlier press conference, Mr Trump laid into the CNN reporter - the latest in a long history of testy exchanges between the pair - after Acosta refused Mr Trump's orders to sit down and give up the microphone during a press conference.

Mr Trump appeared ready to walk out as Acosta clung to the microphone and persisted with questions about the president's views on a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the US border.

When asked if he had "demonised immigrants" during the midterms campaign, Mr Trump replied: "No, I want them to come into the country. But they have to come in legally".

Acosta persisted, saying: "They are hundreds of miles away. That is not an invasion."

At that point, the president snapped.

President Donald Trump clashed with CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference in the East Room of the White House.
President Donald Trump clashed with CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference in the East Room of the White House.
AAP

"Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be higher," Mr Trump said.

As the reporter continued, Mr Trump declared: "That's enough, put down the mic" and walked away from his own podium, as if leaving.

An aide attempted to grab the microphone from Acosta, who nevertheless trued to shout out one last question.

Waving his finger, Mr Trump berated him.

"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," he said.

When NBC reporter Peter Alexander took the mic for the next question, he defended Acosta as a "diligent reporter" - earning Mr Trump's ire.

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

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

CNN later responded to the exchange, calling it "dangerous" and "un-American".

“This President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far,” a CNN spokesperson said.

“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere."

Mr Acosta told fellow journalists the president did not like getting called out.

“That’s the way I look at it. I had a question to ask," he told CNN's Jake Tapper. 

"He just didn’t like hearing that question. He didn’t like being challenged on that point. And he certainly doesn’t like being called out for his falsehoods. But of course Jake, as you were just mentioning, that’s our job. That’s what we do over here.”

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