White House Correspondents Association objects to suspension of Playboy reporter's credentials

White House Correspondents Association objects to suspension of Playboy reporter's credentials
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The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) on Monday filed a court briefing objecting to the one-month suspension of Playboy reporter Brian Karem's credentials.

"We strongly disagree with the government’s argument that neither the Due Process clause nor the First Amendment constrains the administration in determining who gets access to the White House," WHCA President Jon Karl said in a statement.

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"We also believe giving the White House Press Secretary unfettered discretion to determine what is 'professional' or ‘unprofessional’ conduct would have a chilling effect on journalists," he added.

The organization, which represents journalists covering the White House, filed an eight-page amicus brief in federal district court in Washington, D.C., where Karem is suing President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE and press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamOAN says it will attend briefing as White House guest after violating social distancing rules UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus White House press secretary to return to work after negative virus test MORE to restore his credentials.

Grisham earlier this month suspended Karem's credentials for one month, citing his behavior after the Playboy correspondent and CNN contributor exchanged words with Trump supporters during a Rose Garden event last month.

As the president walked back into the White House after the July 11 event, Karem shouted and asked whether Trump would stay and take questions from the press.

Former White House adviser Sebastian GorkaSebastian Lukacs GorkaCORRECTED: Cruz scolds reporter who brought up his daughters Trump wants To 'deescalate,' but will his supporters let him? Conservative radio show canceled after host wishes for 'nice school shooting' as impeachment distraction MORE, sitting in the audience, began engaging with Karem before getting up to approach the reporter.

"You're not a journalist. You're a punk," Gorka said to Karem, who invited the former Trump adviser to "go outside and have a long talk."

Another social media summit attendee shouted to Karem that Gorka would "kick your f---ing ass," while Trump tweeted the next day that Gorka "Wins Big, No Contest!"

Grisham said she interviewed witnesses and reviewed video of the event. She wrote in a 13-page statement that revoking Karem's hard pass would be too harsh but that taking no action was an insufficient response to Karem "disrupting" a White House event.

The White House has had a contentious relationship with the news media dating back to Trump's time on the campaign. Regular press briefings have all but stopped, and Trump regularly derides outlets and reporters he dislikes as "fake news" and the "enemy of the people."

The administration last year revoked CNN reporter Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaDire projections put new focus on Trump coronavirus response Judge rules lawsuit alleging Trump threatened free press can move forward Sean Spicer takes seat at White House press briefing MORE's credentials last year after it said he made contact with an intern while trying to hang on to the microphone to ask Trump a question. A federal judge ordered the White House to restore Acosta's credentials, saying the administration did not follow any established process in its decision.