Pence: Trump administration has ‘defended the freedom of the press on the world stage’

Pence: Trump administration has ‘defended the freedom of the press on the world stage’
© Greg Nash

Vice President Pence on Thursday insisted the Trump administration has defended the freedom of the press globally, and dismissed comparisons between the White House's decision to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press pass and Pence's criticism of Myanmar's leader for jailing two journalists.

"This administration has stood strong for a free and independent press and defended the freedom of the press on a world stage," Pence told reporters in Singapore, where he's attending an international summit.

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"There's no comparison whatsoever between disagreements over decorum at the White House and the imprisonment of the two reporters in Myanmar," he added, according to ABC News.

Pence on Wednesday confronted Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi about her country's treatment of Rohingya Muslims and its imprisonment of two Reuters journalists. During a one-on-one meeting, the vice president called the arrest and jailing of the two journalists since last year "deeply troubling," and emphasized the importance of a "free and independent press."

Hours later, the White House defended itself against a lawsuit from CNN and Acosta over the revocation of his press pass by arguing that the president has broad discretion in determining which reporters are allowed into the White House.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE has had a tenuous relationship with the media since hitting the campaign trail. He regularly demeans reporters and news outlets as "fake news" and has labeled them the "enemy of the people."

Pence has taken a firmer tone on press rights. He recently spoke out forcefully about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and called it an "assault" on a free press. However, the vice president has not publicly criticized Trump for his attacks on the media.