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National Press Club slams Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ attacks on press and Acosta

National Press Club slams Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ attacks on press and Acosta
© Greg Nash

The National Press Club ripped the White House’s decision to revoke CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials, calling the move “unprecedented.” 

“The president’s personal attacks on reporters, especially on CNN’s Jim Acosta, during a Nov. 7 news conference were unprecedented and beneath the dignity of the office. The president and his aides have suggested they are aggrieved only by certain segments of the media, not all of it. But the Fourth Estate stands as one. An attack on any of us is an attack on all of us,” Andrea Edney, president of the National Press Club, said in a statement

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“They revoked Acosta’s press pass without reasonable cause. Then, in a new low, they justified it by falsely accusing Acosta of inappropriately roughing up a female White House intern--and then sought to substantiate the charge by circulating a doctored video of the event,” she added. 

The White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Hill.

The White House announced Wednesday it was revoking Acosta’s press credentials, claiming he became physical with a female White House intern while pressing President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeath toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 48: authorities Graham backs bill to protect Mueller Denham loses GOP seat in California MORE about immigration during a press conference. 

As Acosta attempted to ask a question about a group of Central American migrants making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump interrupted him, saying, “OK, that's enough.”

The intern then approached Acosta and tried to take the microphone out of his hand. He refused to release it, saying "pardon me, ma'am," and continuing to attempt to ask his question. Acosta's hand appeared to brush the intern's arm during the exchange.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement later Wednesday, stating, “President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration. We will, however, 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.”

The White House also released a video of the incident that social media users, including several reporters and political analysts, said appeared to have been sped up in order to exacerbate the contact that was made between Acosta and the intern.

Acosta denied putting his hands on the intern.

“A free and independent press is currently one of the primary checks on this president. Calling us names does not dampen our enthusiasm to do our jobs. Calling us the enemy of the people does not affect our determination to serve our communities and the citizens of this country," the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Online News Association said Thursday in a joint statement.

"Barring access to one reporter will not stop — or even soften — our questioning. Journalists work to report the news accurately and fairly, and that means asking hard questions of every elected official, including the president of the United States of America.” 

Trump has long bashed CNN over its coverage of the president, slamming the network as "fake news."