Meh. He made a show of touting a list he had of political enemies whose security clearances might be revoked after he yanked John Brennan’s and none of those people has been penalized (yet). I think that case was the same as this new one with Acosta: He gets mad at an antagonist, he lashes out, then he uses the incident to muscle other critics by warning that they might be next. If he were any other politician I would think that he was trying to intimidate them into silence by doing that. But he lives for drama and he surely understands that Acosta and his press antagonists will be more vocal in their criticism of him after something like this, not less. He’s baiting them into brawling with him, as Jon Stewart observed last week. They’ll take the bait. They always do.
“I haven’t made that decision, but it could be others also … I don’t think [Acosta] is a smart person but he’s got a loud voice … The same thing with April Ryan. I mean, you talk about somebody who’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. She gets publicity and then she gets a pay raise.”
Fair point below from Maggie Haberman. Wasn’t Acosta’s big offense supposedly the fact that he made physical contact with a staffer (who was trying to wrestle the microphone away from him at the time)? If so, why would anyone else’s press credential be in jeopardy?
But they said it was about putting his hands on an intern and … oh, never mind. https://t.co/43HqPdqwOr
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 9, 2018
That’s par for the course for the White House. Whenever Trump lashes out, some “neutral” reason is initially offered and then POTUS eventually lets the truth slip out. Comey was supposedly fired because he did a poor job of handling the Clinton Emailgate probe, then Trump told Lester Holt that yes, he had Russiagate in mind when he dropped the axe. Brennan’s security clearance was supposedly revoked due to worries about his mental competence, replete with “erratic behavior” and “frenzied commentary,” then Trump told the WSJ that it was also partly because Brennan had led the Russiagate “witch hunt.” Now here’s Acosta supposedly losing his White House privileges because he puts his hands on an employee, then Trump tells reporters that it’s because he’s loud and disrespectful to the office of the presidency. Why even bother with the pretenses anymore?
YouGov is conducting a live online poll as I write this about revoking press credentials. Results thus far:
I’m not sure what a legal regime in which the White House isn’t “allowed” to revoke press access would look like. Anyone claiming to be a member of the media must be allowed onto the White House grounds, or into the White House briefing room? In the digital age, a lot of people think they’re part of the free press.
In the unlikely event that Trump does try to revoke someone else’s credentials, like April Ryan’s, for doing nothing more than criticizing him I think you’ll see the press react with some form of boycott, Fox News included. Chris Wallace summed up the media’s dilemma with Wednesday’s press conference incident: No, Trump shouldn’t be revoking credentials, but yes, Acosta is an unusually aggressive grandstanding clod whom it’s hard to defend on professional grounds. Trump coming after a more professional reporter would resolve that dilemma.
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 9, 2018