On Sunday, Donald Trump partially clarified the ethereal “rules and regulations” he promised were going to bring the White House press corps into line with his wishes and also make him compliant with the federal judge’s order that forced him to give back CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass. He spoke with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday about his plans going forward.
Trump had revoked the veteran journalist’s security badge that allowed him into the White House after a confrontation that culminated in an intern attempting to physically remove a microphone from Acosta, and the White House officially releasing a doctored video that made it look as though Acosta was “karate chopping” the young woman’s arm.
The judge in the case, Timothy J. Kelly — who is, ironically, a Trump appointee — ruled that Acosta’s Fifth Amendment right to due process had been violated, since there was nothing codified by the White House prohibiting what transpired that day, nor did he have an opportunity to defend himself before the arbitrary revocation of his pass. While that may be confusing for some who live in states where employers can fire employees for any or no reason at all, inside the federal government it is constitutionally protected.
The new rules? Trump told Wallace he’s prepared to:
…maybe turn the camera off that faces them because then they don’t have any air time.”
That may be a stretch for the President’s power since the cameras are actually owned and controlled by the networks, although Trump also indicated to Wallace that he expected to be sued over it and perhaps lose:
I’ll probably be sued for that and maybe, you know, win or lose it, who knows. I mean, with with this stuff you never know what’s going to happen.”
To his credit, Wallace asked the million-dollar question: Why call on Acosta in the first place if he doesn’t like the way he behaves at briefings? Trump gave a response that was more of a question itself than an answer:
Actually I like to do it, but in many cases I don’t. He’ll stand up, he’s unbelievably rude to Sarah Huckabee, who’s a wonderful woman, unbelievably rude and I see that and I actually ask her the same. Why do you call on these people that are so nasty?”
One overlooked part of Judge Kelly’s decision: He essentially called Trump and Sanders liars over their description of the interaction between Acosta and the intern who attempted to remove his microphone, saying that [Acosta putting his hands on her] “likely didn’t happen.”
Trump also doubled down on his promise to simply take his ball and go home if he doesn’t like the way he’s being treated by reporters, telling Wallace,
[If] I think somebody is acting out of sorts, I will leave. I will say, ‘Thank you very much everybody, I appreciate you coming.’ And I’ll leave.”
Featured image via screen capture