President Donald Trump said his administration was writing up new rules for the media after he urged for more “decorum” in response to a Friday ruling from a Trump-appointed federal judge that restored the White House credential of CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Trump, who also threatened to restrict media access because “we always have the option of just leaving,” took particular issue with reporters that ask “three questions and four questions and just stand up.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, delivered Trump’s new “decorum” rules for the media from on high on Monday.
Moving forward, reporters can only ask “a single question” during press briefings.
If the president or the administration official decides “a follow-up question or questions may be permitted,” then the public official might grace the media with further comments. However, the reporter “will then yield the floor” and not ask any additional questions.
Having the audacity to ask a second question without permission “may result in suspension or revocation” of media credentials.
NEW WHITE HOUSE PRESS RULES – Try to ask more than one question, and you may lose your press pass pic.twitter.com/YAngjntQMH
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 19, 2018
Sanders and White House communications director Bill Shine, who was fired by Fox News for mishandling numerous sexual harassment complaints, sent the new “rules” to Acosta in response to a letter from his legal representatives.
Here's the letter from Shine and Sanders listing "rules governing future press conferences." The Q: Will we be back here in a week or a month, with the W.H. banning someone else? pic.twitter.com/7HpMpBsCEO
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 19, 2018
BuzzFeed News’ Chris Geidner noted the obvious absurdity of the White House’s regulations.
These rules would enable any even half-competent speaker to avoid answering any and all questions posed to them by the press. The @WHCA should strongly oppose this move by the White House. https://t.co/5lwNRrAjzY
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) November 19, 2018
After Friday’s ruling, the White House announced its intentions to revoke Acosta’s media credential again over the weekend. Following further legal threats from CNN, the administration backed down on Monday and fully restored Acosta’s White House access.
Trump berated Acosta for asking questions and implied that his network deserved to be sent explosive devices last month during a news conference on the day after the midterms. The White House then used a doctored video to explain Acosta’s ban from White House grounds for the “inappropriate behavior” of not letting an aide rip a microphone out of his hands.
The president has repeatedly referred to news media as “the enemy of the people,” a phrase also used by the man who was arrested by the FBI in August for threatening a mass shooting against the Boston Globe due to its criticism of Trump. Trump has also promoted a video that depicted him physically assaulting CNN, discussed the network’s “hatred,” and tweeted “Fake News CNN is dead!”