President Donald Trump got personal with CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Wednesday, calling him a "terrible person" directly from the podium. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused Acosta of "placing his hands" on the intern.
Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under George W. Bush, said on Fox News Channel Thursday that it appeared Acosta had made incidental contact with the intern and that it didn't appear to be a justifiable reason to pull his pass.
Acosta pressed him on why he called the migrant caravan making its way from Central America to the USA border an invasion.
In a stinging put down of Acosta, he said: "I tell you what CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them".
But Acosta kept a tight grip on his microphone, even after a young, female White House aide came over and tried to take it away from him.
In September, Costa Rica-based MyBookie.com took bets on who was behind the anonymous New York Times editorial which claimed things were seriously amiss in the Trump administration. That's nonsense. And the doctored video that Sanders shared was meant to portray Acosta as some sort of woman abuser, which is completely absurd.More news: Apple shows record-breaking results for Q4 of the fiscal 2018
But in a result that highlights America's sharp polarity, Trump and his fellow Republicans expanded their majority in the US Senate after a campaign marked by immigration. And when people watch Acosta go on these unhinged battles against the president or Sarah Sanders, their distrust in the media deepens.
"Pardon me, ma'am", Acosta quickly said.
Trump then told him, "That's enough!"
Heading to the Executive Mansion for an 8 PM ET segment, Acosta found out earlier what had happened from a security guard. She called the behavior "absolutely unacceptable".
White House staffers decide whether journalists are eligible, though the Secret Service determines whether their applications are approved.
Mason, a Reuters correspondent, said Acosta held on to the microphone as the intern reached for it and later posted a few pictures from the press conference to prove his point.
"Obviously, I don't think anybody should have, any young woman, particularly, should have swiping away at them, grabbing the microphone back", she said. CNN has been most closely associated with the "fake news" slur, which the president has used constantly to undermine public confidence in the media.
NBC's Peter Alexander defended Acosta, saying he is a diligent reporter, but Trump told Alexander he wasn't a fan of his, either.