President Trump on Friday called journalist Jim Acosta “a very unprofessional man,” and he suggested that the White House could suspend other journalists in addition to the CNN reporter for disrespecting the presidency.
“I don’t think he’s a smart person, but he’s got a loud voice,” Mr. Trump said of the journalist. “I think Jim Acosta is a very unprofessional man.”
The White House suspended Mr. Acosta’s press credentials Wednesday after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused him of putting his hands on a White House intern who tried to take away a microphone from him at a presidential press conference. Mr. Acosta has called the accusation a lie.
Asked how long Mr. Acosta will be barred from the White House, Mr. Trump replied, “I haven’t made that decision, but it could be others, also.”
The encounter with Mr. Acosta came during a testy exchange with Mr. Trump over a caravan of illegal migrants from Central America. Mr. Acosta stated his opinion that the caravan wasn’t an “invasion,” as Mr. Trump has asserted, instead of asking a question.
“He gets paid to do this,” Mr. Trump said. “You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect.”
The president also chided journalist April Ryan of American Urban Radio network, calling her “a loser.” During the press conference, he told her to sit down because he hadn’t called on her.
“She’s very nasty,” the president said.
Mr. Trump rejected accusations that the White House doctored a video of the encounter between Mr. Acosta and the intern, showing that he pushed her arm away with his left arm as she tried to take the microphone from him. One analysis on behalf of The Associated Press stated that the video was sped up to make Mr. Acosta’s movement appear more deliberate.
“Nobody manipulated it. Give me a break,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s just dishonest reporting. All that is is a close-up. I watched that [video] last night. He was not nice to that young woman. But I don’t hold him for that, because it wasn’t overly horrible. It wasn’t doctored; they gave a close-up view.”