On Wednesday, in the wake of the midterm elections that delivered control of the House of Representatives to Democrats, President Trump gave a heated, and press conference. During that press conference, the president had and CNN reporter Jim Acosta had an intense exchange.
Later, the White House stripped Acosta of his press pass, blocking him from the White House. The unprecedented move has been widely condemned. In response to criticism, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders perpetuated a lie, accusing Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman.” The young woman she referenced is a White House aid who was trying to take the microphone out of Acosta’s hands as he attempted to ask the president a question.
Video of the interaction shows that Acosta did not touch the aid. In fact, he turned away from her. That reality has not stopped Sanders or the White House from spreading the falsehood. On Thursday, Sanders doubled down on the lie saying, “The question is: Did the reporter make contact or not? The video is clear, he did.” She added, “We stand by our statement.”
The video she is referring to is a video doctored by far alt-right InfoWars as justification for the White House action. On Wednesday, CNN called the move an “unprecedented decision” that is based on “lies” and said that the network fully supports Acosta. CNN also said, “It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference.”
In their statement, CNN continued saying, “In an explanation, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied. She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened.” CNN added, “This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better.”
President Trump called Acosta a “rude, terrible person” during the exchange when Acosta refused to sit down after asking the president about a racist anti-immigration ad promoted by the president before the midterms.