President Donald Trump on Friday defended the decision to suspend CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, saying Acosta is "unprofessional" and not a "smart person."
Trump went off on Acosta following a reporter's question about how much longer Acosta would be without a "hard pass" giving him speedy entry to the White House grounds. Acosta’s pass was revoked by the administration after he refused to give up the microphone during a Wednesday press conference in which Trump called him "a rude, terrible person."
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"I think Jim Acosta is a very unprofessional man. He does this with everybody. He gets paid to do that," Trump said. "Whether it was me or Ronald Reagan or anybody else, he would have done the same thing."
"I don't think he's a smart person, but he's got a loud voice," Trump added.
Trump also had contentions exchanges with CNN political analyst April Ryan at the Wednesday presser, and on Friday he compared her to Acosta and said other reporters could have their passes revoked.
"It could be others also. When you're in the White House, this is a very sacred place to be. A very special place," Trump said. "You have to treat the White House with respect, you have to treat the presidency with respect. If you have ever seen him dealing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it's a disgrace. And he does it for, you know, the reason—the same thing with April Ryan."
"I mean, you talk about somebody that's a loser," Trump said about Ryan. "She doesn't know what the hell she's doing. She gets publicity and then she gets a pay raise or she gets a contract with, I think, CNN, but she's very nasty. And she shouldn't be."
Later on, CNN reporter Abby Phillip asked about Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.
"Do you want [Whitaker] to rein in Robert Mueller?" Phillip asked of the special counsel's Russia investigation.
"What a stupid question that is," Trump replied. "But I watch you a lot, and you ask a lot of stupid questions."
President Trump: "What a stupid question that is." pic.twitter.com/W0xR292vfC
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 9, 2018