President Trump seems to be working on a plan to regulate press briefings after a judge ruled an ousted CNN reporter’s press access be reinstated.
In an interview with Chris Wallace for Fox News Sunday, Trump brushed off Judge Timothy Kelly’s Friday ruling that CNN’s Jim Acosta have his Secret Service pass to the White House grounds be reinstated. Despite the ruling being a interim rejection of The White House argument that the president has “broad” discretion in which credentialed members of the press are allowed access to attend official briefings, Trump said, “It’s not a big deal,” and that his team is already working on “rules” for reporter conduct.
“We’re doing that, we’re going to write them up right now,” Trump told Wallace. “It’s not a big deal and if he misbehaves we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.”
Pushing for specifics, Wallace asked if certain things are going to be considered “over the line” and Trump reiterated that these new rules are being written now, but that they will cover “decorum” and outline that reporters “can’t keep asking questions.”
“We had a lot of reporters in that room, many many reporters in that room and they were unable to ask questions because this guy gets up and starts, you know, doing what he’s supposed to be doing for him and for CNN and, you know, just shouting out questions and making statements, too,” Trump said, referring to Acosta refusing to give up a mic during a briefing last week, which led to the revocation of his White House access.
Trump did not mention the initial White House line that Acosta, who returned to the press area of the White House today, was barred because he allegedly “placed his hands on” an intern who attempted to take the mic from him during a question. Now it seems the issue is Acosta refusing to have his question ignored after Trump called on him during a briefing.
Trump added that “nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do,” citing CNN’s allegation in a Tuesday lawsuit that the president and his key staff were crossing the line of freedom of speech in barring Acosta arbitrarily.
Going forward, Trump said his strategy during briefings will be to simply leave if he doesn’t like the way it’s going.
“If I think somebody is acting out of sorts I will leave, I will say ‘Thank you very much everybody, I appreciate you coming,’ and I’ll leave,” Trump said. “And those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that’s acting up.”
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