Yesterday the White House revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s access to the president simply for asking a question Trump didn’t want to answer. The two argued in a heated exchange, in which Trump said to Acosta “I think you should let me run the country, and you run CNN – and if you did it well your ratings would be much better” and “CNN should be ashamed of themselves for having you working for them.” The president also added that Acosta was a “rude, terrible person.”
So what exactly set Trump over the edge? What always sends him into an incoherent rage: a simple fact (“fake news” as he calls it). It started when Acosta told the president that the migrant caravan was in fact not an invasion, but rather a group of migrants hundreds of miles from the US border. After this fact was stated, Trump tried to have the microphone taken away from Acosta, and the reporter stood his ground and tried to ask about the Russia investigation while a White House intern tried to forcibly pull the microphone out of his hand.
Acosta was barely able to finish asking his question on Russia and the president refused to answer. The microphone was then handed to NBC reporter Peter Alexander who attempted to defend Acosta. “Well I’m not a big fan of yours either” was Trump’s response to Alexander. Acosta then stood up and yelled to Trump something unintelligible from the recording. The president who had just silenced a member of the press for asking a “hard” question, and who fired his attorney general for not stopping an investigation against him, responded by calling Acosta “the enemy of the people.”
Later in the day, Acosta tweeted that he was stopped by a secret service guard who demanded to have his White House pass. He also tweeted a video of the secret service officer confiscating his pass.
I’ve just been denied entrance to the WH. Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the WH grounds for my 8pm hit
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH. As I told the officer, I don’t blame him. I know he’s just doing his job. (Sorry this video is not rightside up) pic.twitter.com/juQeuj3B9R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
The White House confirmed in a statement that Acosta had lost his access to the president. Here’s a condensed version of that statement.
We will…never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. ..Contrary to CNN’s assertions there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today. ..The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it‘s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration. As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.
Now I’m not one for hyperbole, but this situation is extremely worrisome. Every citizen in this country should be concerned for the future of free speech. Freedom of the press is the god damn staple of American freedom, so much so that it is literally number one in the Bill of Rights (note to Trump supporters if you’ve made it this far, I know reading is hard: take out your pocket constitution that you carry around and go to the page that you have dog-eared and highlighted, and then turn to the previous page; that’s called the first amendment, it’s what allows you to scream lies about minorities at white nationalist rallies).
What Trump has done is crossed a line that we may never get back to the right side of. He’s silenced what he considers a political enemy, despite the first amendment; we are one step away from an authoritarian nightmare. Trump already has a huge following of people who think he can do no wrong and who may do just about anything for him. Now he’s shown that he may possibly do anything to silence an opposing force.
Again, I’m not trying to be hyperbolic. I am just a concerned American that believes the situation is that dire; I fear for the future of my country. Right now it’s “Trump revokes reporter’s access”. But what about the near future? What if it becomes more than that? Would Trump do whatever it takes if he knew he could get away with it? After the events of yesterday, it seems more likely.
Power is gained in small steps, history has taught us that many times. So while many may say yesterday’s events are not that big of a deal, I’d say that it’s just one of the first steps towards a dangerous regime. A regime where reporters and cabinet members go missing instead of being kicked out or fired. A regime where a man won’t relinquish his power. A regime where congress, judges, cabinet members, and citizens are fearful of the man in charge. The only way forward is to impeach this president and remove him from office, as he has shown clearly that he is not fit to be president. We must make it known that this kind of behavior will not and can not be tolerated by a president. It may be our last chance to do so.