The White House revoked the press badge of CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta Wednesday following a tense exchange with President Donald Trump where the president called him a "rude, terrible person."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced the unexpected move Wednesday evening, explaining the decision was a result of both Acosta's behavior and him yanking back when a White House intern tried to take his microphone.
President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration," Sanders said. "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."
Trump refused to answer a follow-up question from Acosta, who persisted in his attempt to ask the president about the Russia investigation into interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump spoke loudly over Acosta – with whom he has clashed repeatedly – and demanded he hand over the microphone to White House staff.
"You should let me run the country. You run CNN," the president told Acosta.
Trump stepped away from the lectern, appearing as though Acosta's behavior would end the news conference. He returned to the microphone as Acosta sat down.
"I tell you what: CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them," Trump said. "You are a rude terrible person."
CNN stood up for Acosta, in a statement saying, "This President's ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American."
Sanders called CNN's statement "outrageous."
"The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it is an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration," she said in a statement.