Bill Clinton spokesman: White House pulling Acosta's pass 'an abuse of power'

Bill Clinton spokesman: White House pulling Acosta's pass 'an abuse of power'
© Getty Images

Joe Lockhart, who served as a spokesman for former President Clinton, blasted the Trump administration for pulling CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass.

In a tweet Wednesday night, Lockhart called the decision to suspend Acosta’s White House access an “abuse of power.”

“The ‘hard pass’ that WH reporters [have] are used as a security tool for the WH,” Lockhart tweeted. “Reporters who are vetted are allowed access that most reporters don't have.  Those passes are not designed as a tool to pick the reporters you like or punish those you don't. This is an abuse of power.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the decision to suspend Acosta’s hard pass following a tense exchange between Acosta and President TrumpDonald John TrumpPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism Trump discussing visit overseas to troops following criticism: report Retired Army General: Trump is ‘acting like an 8th grader’ in attacking ex-Navy SEAL who led bin Laden operation MORE at a post-midterm news conference on Wednesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

During the exchange, Acosta refused to let go of the microphone as a White House press aide attempted to take it from him.

“We will ... never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable," Sanders said. "As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice."

The White House was met with swift backlash for the decision, with many members of the press pointing to a video challenging Sanders’s accusation that Acosta was “placing his hands” on the aide.