US President Donald Trump has threatened to revoke the credentials of more White House reporters, doubling down in response to criticism of his administration’s decision to revoke credentials for CNN correspondent Jim Acosta.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Friday, Trump launched a tirade aimed at Acosta, calling him “unprofessional” and threatening others with having their credentials revoked.
“You have to treat the White House with respect, you have to treat the presidency with respect,” Trump said, claiming the late Republican president, Ronald Reagan, would have acted similarly.
Trump also took a shot at CNN journalist, April Ryan, calling her “nasty” and a “loser”.
The comments, the latest outbursts in Trump’s long history of hostility towards the press, have drawn criticism from civil liberties groups.
In a tweet posted soon after Trump’s comments, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said: “This is a threat straight out of an authoritarian playbook.”
Pen America also posted a tweet, in which it said: “President Trump’s threat to revoke additional reporters’ White House access is deeply troubling.
“Denying press passes as a method of retaliation is a violation of the First Amendment.”
Acosta’s credentials were revoked on Thursday after a tense press conference on Wednesday, in which Trump dodged questions and lashed out at several journalists.
When Acosta challenged the president on his use of the word “invasion” to describe a caravan of mainly Honduran migrants and asylum seekers heading to the US border, Trump launched an attack on the CNN journalist, as an aide tried to physically remove the microphone from Acosta’s hands.
“You are a rude terrible person, you should not be working for CNN,” Trump said, further baselessly accusing him of reporting “fake news” and calling him an “enemy of the people”.
CNN said the move was done “in retaliation for his (Acosta’s) challenging questions”.
Trump has frequently attacked the media, including during his presidential campaign. In one infamous incident he flailed his arms mocking a disabled New York Times journalist.
The US president has also attacked the media for being “enemies of the people”.