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Trump social media summit attendees clash with reporters in Rose Garden

A handful of conservative personalities who attended President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE's social media summit on Thursday clashed with reporters in the Rose Garden after they were invited to sit in on an announcement about the census.

The scene played out as Trump stood between Attorney General William BarrBill BarrPolice accountability board concludes that Seattle police officers used excessive force during encounters with protesters Trump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says Seattle, Portland, NYC sue Trump administration over threat to pull federal money MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossIt's time to reckon with space junk Census Bureau to hold count through end of October Judge begins contempt proceedings for Wilbur Ross over allegedly defying census order MORE, and a number of far-right social media personalities and attendees criticized for having promoted conspiracy theories sat in the audience. The mood quickly turned confrontational after the president returned inside. 

Sebastian GorkaSebastian Lukacs GorkaSunday shows preview: Trump, lawmakers weigh in on COVID-19, masks and school reopenings amid virus surge Trump taps Gorka for national security advisory board Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence MORE, a former White House adviser, stormed over to engage with Playboy correspondent Brian Karem at the conclusion of Trump's remarks, where the president announced he would drop his bid to add a citizenship question to the census.

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As reporters and other social media summit guests looked on, Gorka called Karem a "punk" and accused the journalist of threatening him as the two exchanged words. Fellow conservative personalities broke into a chant of "Gorka!" as they filmed the encounter. 

Gorka later spoke to reporters nearby and was asked why he blocks so many people on Twitter.

"I block whoever I want to. I block 16,000 people," he told Steve Herman of Voice of America. "Because they’re asshats, that’s why."

A few others in the crowd heckled members of the press who stood behind a rope line at back of the Rose Garden. Trump took questions from his supporters during the social media summit, but did not respond to shouted questions from the credentialed press during the Rose Garden event.

Joy Villa, a vocal Trump supporter, turned to the press at one point and encouraged them to "stop reporting fake news." 

"How many copy editors do you have?" Karem asked.

"We don’t need to have that. We just have our voice," Villa responded, wearing an American flag-themed dress that read "FREEDOM" at the bottom.

“That’s not journalism,” Karem replied, as the two continued exchanging views.

Footage of the exchanges involving Gorka, Villa and Karem quickly circulated on social media.

During Thursday's social media summit, Trump complained of "terrible bias" and censorship in front of a crowd of roughly 200 conservative personalities.

The president spent much of the speech boasting about his own prolific social media following, while simultaneously alleging that Twitter has suppressed his following. Social media companies have insisted that political views do not play a role in the enforcement of their policies. 

The president announced that he will be convening a meeting of the companies at the White House next week over concerns that they routinely censor right-wing perspectives.