Kellyanne Conway defended White House claims that CNN reporter Jim Acosta “put his hands” on a White House intern, telling Fox News on Thursday afternoon that the intern was “just doing her job.”
“She was just doing her job, which was to reclaim the microphone that belongs to the federal government, and hand it to the next reporter,” Conway told Bill Hemmer.
The “Jersey Girl Embarrassed by Bob Menendez,” as Conway has dubbed herself on Twitter, also said that she doesn’t think “anybody should have — any young woman, particularly — should have somebody swiping away at them, grabbing the microphone back.”
“That’s very unfortunate. I have talked to that young woman ― she is very brave and just doing her job,” the White House counselor said.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump had a contentious exchange with Acosta during a press conference. Trump called Acosta a “rude, terrible person” and attempted to cut off his questioning. The president’s efforts were aided by a White House intern who tried three times to take the microphone away from Acosta. During her last attempt to grab the mic, the journalist’s hand briefly brushed her arm.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared what appears to be a doctored video of the exchange on Wednesday night, accompanied by the announcement that Acosta’s White House press credentials would be revoked.
President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern...— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history.— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
Contrary to CNN’s assertions there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today. Only they would attack the President for not supporting a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters...— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
...over the course of 1.5 hours including several from the reporter in question. The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it‘s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
Acosta later retweeted Sanders’ statement with his own comment, “This is a lie.”
Sanders’ remarks have led many on Twitter to call for her resignation while reporters have come out en masse to defend Acosta.
The press secretary doubled down on her comments Thursday afternoon, saying in a press release: “The question is: did the reporter make contact or not? The video is clear, he did. We stand by our statement.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.