June 19, 2017
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta blasted the White House and its press secretary on the network Monday, questioning why he and other reporters bothered attending an off-camera press conference that news outlets were not allowed to record.
"The White House press secretary is getting to a point, Brooke, where he's kind of useless," Acosta said. "If he can't come out and answer the questions and they're just not going to do this on-camera and audio, why are we even having these briefings in the first place?"
Speaking on a live feed from outside the White House to CNN's Brooke Baldwin, Acosta even gestured toward the president's mansion at one point, saying that the Trump administration's handling of the press has been "bizarre."
"I don't know what world we're living in right now, Brooke," Acosta said. "They bring us into the briefing room here at the White House and they won't answer these questions on camera or let us record the audio. I don't know why everyone else is going along with this. It just doesn't make any sense to me."
Baldwin brought up several times when Spicer declined to answer reports' questions about President Donald Trump's stance on climate change. She wondered aloud whether Spicer is having those types of conversations with Trump.
"It's a question that I would ask, but unfortunately at this White House we wouldn't have the video or audio to show you the answer to that question because of the stonewalling we're getting over here," Acosta quipped in response.
Acosta continued, connecting Monday's incident with Trump's reluctance to hold press conferences.
Trump often uses Twitter to give updates on White House activity, telling his followers last week that tweeting allows him to "go around" the press.
"It just feels like we're slowly but surely being dragged into what is a new normal in this country where the president of the United States is able to insulate himself from answering hard questions," Acosta said. "He hasn't had a full-blown press conference since February."
Instead, Acosta pointed out, Trump has held several brief joint press conferences with foreign leaders.
"Maybe he'll take a question from a conservative news media reporter and then somebody from the mainstream media. This just isn't how we do things in this country but for whatever reason, we're all going along with it."
Rumors have persisted in recent weeks that Spicer could move into a different role inside the West Wing. A White House official told CNN on Monday that the White House was mulling a different position for the press secretary.