Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway reiterated the administration’s position that no journalist has a First Amendment right to be at the White House, in a Monday morning interview on the Fox News Channel.
“You don’t have a First Amendment right to be in the White House,” Conway flatly declared.
Conway’s comments come as the White House moves once again to bar CNN reporter Jim Acosta from its grounds after an incident nearly two weeks ago during a presidential press conference. Acosta refused to give up the microphone despite being told to do so by President Donald Trump.
Acosta’s press pass was revoked after the incident by the White House, which prompted a subsequent lawsuit from CNN. CNN prevailed in obtaining a temporary restraining order against the White House with a Judge ruling that Acosta’s due process had been violated. The judge did not rule, however, on CNN’s first amendment contention that the White House did not have a right to pick and choose who covered it.
The White House sent Acosta a letter Sunday noting that it would continue to revoke his press pass to the grounds after the restraining order expires.
CNN responded to the letter in a Sunday statement saying, “the White House is continuing to violate the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution. These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the president.”
Trump suggested a possible solution in a Fox News interview later on Sunday: “I think one of the things we’ll do is maybe turn the camera off that faces them, because then they don’t have any airtime, although I’ll probably be sued for that, and maybe, you know, win or lose it. Who knows?”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted in a statement immediately following the temporary restraining order that it would be developing new procedures for journalists who cover the White House during press conferences:
In response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass. We will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be decorum at the White House.