During Donald Trump’s wild post-midterms press conference on Wednesday, the president named and shamed Republicans who lost, called a black reporter racist, and, most notably, got into it with CNN’s Jim Acosta. On Wednesday night, the White House took what seems to be the unprecedented step of yanking Acosta’s press credentials.
By Thursday morning they were in full-on attack mode, with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeting out a video multiple reporters identified as a misleading edit by InfoWars. The video sped up an exchange between Acosta and a White House staffer—she was trying to take the mic away from Acosta, who didn’t let go—to make the incident appear violent. Or, you know, actual fake news, rather than just the “fake news” Trump calls any critical coverage.
Here’s the original, unedited video of the exchange via NBC News:
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After Acosta questioned Trump about the wildly racist, deeply untruthful ad demonizing the migrant caravan that the president put out ahead of Election Day—Trump retorted that Acosta should focus on running CNN while he runs the country—Acosta tried to ask a second question, at which point an unnamed White House staffer sprang into action to get back the mic and stop this dangerous man, even though Acosta seemed ready to let the issue drop in favor of a question about the Russia probe. The staffer got a hand on the mic and yanked but Acosta didn’t let go, saying “Pardon me, ma’am,” before she retreated. All the while, Trump was saying, like a stern father, “That’s enough.”
Slate’s Aymann Ismail made his own side-by-side edit showing how obviously distorted the footage the White House tweeted was:
On another morning when mass violence is the order of the day, it would seem a politically puzzling, glaringly immoral choice to disseminate anti-press propaganda. It also clearly doesn’t matter to this White House that members of the media, including CNN’s offices, were targeted by a mail bomber less than two weeks ago. (Though, of course, Trump proved that himself by barely taking a day off before attacking the media again.)
What’s evident is that Trump is more than happy to reap what he sows at the ballot box, but won’t accept responsibility when one of his deranged supporters takes his insinuations as suggestions. It’s not a stretch to think acts of violence will only continue.