Journalists have expressed solidarity and anger after the White House suspended the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta after a heated row between him and Donald Trump.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders has been criticised for tweeting a ‘doctored’ video which she claims shows Acosta ‘placing his hands’ on a White House intern who tried to take the microphone from him.
Mr Acosta asked the President about a caravan of migrants which Republicans used as a key campaigning point in the Midterm Elections, at which they lost control of the House of Representatives.
As he tried to follow up with another question, Mr Trump shouted, “That’s enough!” and a female White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from Acosta.
Donald Trump said to him: “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. The way you treat Sarah Sanders is horrible. The way you treat other people is horrible.”
In a statement, Ms Sanders said: “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.”
To support the decision, the White House aide tweeted a video which she claimed showed inappropriate conduct by Mr Acosta, but which appeared to have been an edited video shared by Paul Watson, who works for controversial site Infowars, which has shared conspiracy theories claiming that Hilary Clinton was a demon and that the Sandy Hook shootings were faked.
Mr Acosta said that Sarah Sanders’ statement was ‘a lie’, and other journalists criticised the decision to share the appeared doctored video.