President Trump brushed off a federal judge’s Friday ruling that the White House must reinstate press credentials for Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent.
The president also said during an interview set to air on “Fox News Sunday” that if Acosta “misbehaves” at a future press conference the White House could “throw him out.”
“Yeah, it’s fine. I mean, it’s not a big deal,” Trump told Fox News’s Chris Wallace when asked about the ruling Friday to reinstate Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked last week.
“What they said though is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, etc., etc. We’re doing that, were going to write them up right now,” Trump continued. “It’s not a big deal. And if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.”
The White House stripped Acosta of his press pass last week following a fiery exchange with the president during a press conference, with the CNN reporter holding on to the microphone to continue asking questions when an intern attempted to take it away.
“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 Friday.
“But I will say this, look, nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do, and 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,” he added.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, ordered the White House on Friday to restore Acosta’s press pass, giving him regular access to the White House grounds to cover events and press conferences.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration would abide by the judge’s ruling, but staff “will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future.”
Kelly argued in his ruling that the White House violated Acosta and CNN’s Fifth Amendment rights to due process by kicking Acosta out, but did not say their First Amendment rights to free speech were infringed.
Trump and Acosta engaged in a tense exchange during the televised press conference last week after the reporter pushed Trump on his comments criticizing a group of Central American migrants making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.
As Acosta continued to press the president, a White House intern attempted to take the microphone away. Acosta did not let go, with his hand brushing against the intern.
After the press conference, Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands” on the intern and cited the incident as the reason for why his media access was being revoked.
In court Friday, Kelly said the White House’s characterization was likely untrue.
Acosta and CNN argued that the press pass was revoked because the administration didn’t like the questions Acosta asked.