PRESIDENT Donald Trump held an explosive press conference a day after the midterm elections, claiming tremendous victory for the Republican majority in the Senate and some gubernatorial races.
He congratulated himself for the victory of the candidates who won and berated those Republican candidates who lost because he said they did not embrace him.
When the White House reporters started asking questions, the president would not really answer their questions but instead boasted about himself, his administration, until CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump about his scare tactics on what Trump would call the “caravan” of migrants coming to “invade” America, walking with their family and children from Central America through Mexico.
Trump tried to brush Acosta off by saying, “I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.”
The CNN reporter continued to ask more questions and this time about the Russia investigation, the president shouted: “That’s enough. That’s enough. That’s enough. That’s enough,” ordering him to “put down the mic.” Acosta refused to surrender the microphone to a female intern who was trying to get it from him.
Trump then told the reporter: “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN…You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
Everybody in the room was just shocked at the volatility of the moment. When the intern finally got to get the microphone from Acosta, NBC News reporter Peter Alexander tried to defend the CNN reporter saying Acosta is a “diligent reporter.”
Trump defiantly looked at Alexander and said, “Well, I’m not a big fan of yours, either.”
This was not the first time Trump would lash out at Acosta who had not been daunted by Trump’s labeling of him and of CNN as “fake news” when he would not give Trump a pass in not answering the hard questions a respectable journalist in search of the truth would ask.
But Acosta was not the only reporter Trump would lash out against. Other reporters who would ask legitimate questions that Trump did not want to answer were also humiliated by the president, furiously calling them and how they did their job derogatory names like racist and stupid. He would point fingers at them and rudely stop them and asked them to sit down. He particularly berated black female reporters even after the press conference while they were doing their job — asking questions the American people wanted to be asked to find out the truth about issues.
Later that day, the White House revoked Jim Acosta’s “press pass”, something he had held for 10 years as a White House Correspondent. Trump’s Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the decision saying, “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.”
Sanders then shared a questionable video from a questionable online outlet that was far from the truth. I know because I watched the news conference live on TV, so did many Americans.
Many social media users, reporters and political analysts, pointed out their observation — that “the video Sanders shared zooms in on the moment of contact, and appears to have been sped up to make the moment appear more aggressive.”
How low can they go?
Acosta and all the other reporters were just doing their job as part of the free press, tasked in a democracy to be the “Fourth Estate” and make the government officials accountable to the people.
This is a right stipulated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Trump’s revocation of Acosta’s press credentials is his way of silencing the independent press, a grave violation of the Constitution. The free press is tasked “to serve the governed, and not the governor.”
Trump said the reporters and the news media should respect the White House and respect the Office of the President, something these brave and honorable men and women of the Press have been doing every day. I watched the news conferences. They asked their questions, which were all legitimate questions that should be asked, but it was Trump who disrespected, berated and undermined them every single day — in this news conference, and every day during his presidency, calling them “the enemy of the people”.
Let the TRUTH be told. It is Trump who has been disrespecting and undermining the Office of the President, our democratic institutions and processes.
What is he so angry about? What is he afraid of?
The TRUTH. And now that he just lost control of the House of Representatives because the American people voted out his cohorts in Congress as a referendum of him as a president and how he has been governing the country, he knows he could no longer escape from being accountable to the people. Finally, the checks and balances mandated by the Constitution would be functioning and Trump would know he is NOT above the law.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos