CNN Contributor Slams McConnell: 'You Are Reprehensible'

Brian Karem was thrown out of Rose Garden in July

Brian Karem / Getty Images
September 4, 2019

CNN contributor and Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem on Tuesday slammed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) in a tweet responding to McConnell's dissatisfaction with the nickname "Moscow Mitch."

"I grew up with you in office in Louisville," Karem wrote. "The first politician I ever covered outside of my family. You are reprehensible. You are there for no one but yourself. You remain the worst of any politician I've ever covered in my life. You smear yourself."

McConnell had commented earlier that day that he thought media and political attempts to align him with Russian interests were "modern-day McCarthyism."

Karem made headlines in July when his press pass to the White House was revoked, following an outburst in the Rose Garden. Karem had been heckling attendees at an event, saying, "This is a group of people who are eager for demonic possession."

The comment grabbed the attention of radio host and former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka, who responded, "And you're a journalist, right?"

Karem then asked Gorka if he wanted to "go outside and have a long conversation." Gorka responded that Karem was not a journalist, but "a punk."

Karem's press pass was reinstated on Tuesday after a judge ruled that the White House had not been sufficiently clear in laying out its rules of conduct to reporters prior to the scuffle.

CNN hired Karem as a contributor in 2017 after the Playboy reporter made news for a confrontation with then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Karem spoke out during a press briefing in which Sanders addressed "fake news" and called her comments "inflammatory." After his initial outburst, Karem continued to interrupt Sanders during press briefings throughout 2017 and 2018.

CNN often hires outspoken critics of the White House, including the journalist April Ryan, and more recently, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. McCabe has been accused of lying to federal investigators under oath. He is also in the midst of a lawsuit, in which he alleges that he was fired in a political purge.