CNN’s Don Lemon believes that Jim Acosta was set up during the press conference that resulted in Acosta losing his White House hard pass.
Last Wednesday, Acosta struggled to keep the microphone as a White House intern tried to take it from him after a nasty back-and-forth between himself and President Donald Trump. The president repeatedly told Acosta to sit down to allow other reporters to ask their questions, but, nevertheless, Acosta persisted.
The incident spiraled from a heated exchange to Acosta losing his hard pass access to the White House, prompting CNN to file a lawsuit.
JUDGE FOR YOURSELF: Did @Acosta "plac[e] his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a @WhiteHouse intern," as @PressSec claims? Here’s the video of the exchange being used as pretext to suspend @Acosta's credentials. pic.twitter.com/3ku9C2iBrk
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) November 8, 2018
Lemon, Acosta’s colleague, claimed that he thinks the whole thing was a plan drummed up by the White House to ensure the reporter couldn’t return.
Burt Neuborne, a New York University professor, was on “CNN Tonight” explaining the situation between the president and Acosta when Lemon revealed his grand theory that the White House staged the incident.
Neuborne: If [President Trump] wants to hold a press conference, then it’s got to be a press conference.
Lemon: He’s got to take the tough questions.
Neuborne: If he wants a group of people that will just do whatever he wants, then he can go to Fox, but if he wants to hold a real press conference where people hold his feet to the fire, then he can’t get petulant and say, ‘Oh, I don’t like those questions. Get out of my White House.’
Lemon: By the way, he didn’t need the microphone. People yell out questions all the time.
Neuborne: I’ve been in enough crowds where there are hecklers. You want to control somebody, you turn the microphone off. You don’t send some poor intern into the crowd to take the microphone away.
Lemon: Right. I think that was staged. I think they played that.
This was an interesting point by Lemon for several reasons. The most obvious point is that, in order for the White House to plan this microphone ambush, they needed to know that Acosta wouldn’t stop asking the questions when his turn was over.
They would have also needed to know that Acosta wouldn’t hand over the microphone when asked, prompting the intern to grab it.
Both notions aren’t great looks for Acosta.
Although Lemon is clearly siding with Acosta over the White House, this was not always his position. He condemned the reporter when a similar interruption took place when former President Barack Obama was in office.