August 15, 2022

The White House reporter banned by Trump just taunted him as judge rules in his favor

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Score another loss for the White House in its attempt to silence any member of the press not to Donald Trump’s liking by unexpectedly and unceremoniously yanking their press credentials.


US District Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled today that President Trump and Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham must immediately restore the press credentials of Playboy White House Correspondent Brian Karem that were stripped away from the journalist at the beginning of August after he had a public argument in the Rose Garden with former White House aide and anti-Islamic Nazi-sympathizer Sebastian Gorka.

In Judge Contreras’ opinion, he affirmed that Karem had “shown that he is likely to succeed” on his claim that his due process rights were violated when his pass was suspended and ordered a temporary restraining order by placed on the White House Press Office to prevent them from keeping the journalist — who also works as a political analyst for CNN — from being able to do his job by restricting his access.

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Karem reported his victory in the lawsuit he filed to reverse the initial decision by the White House in a pair of jubilant tweets.

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Initially, Press Secretary Grisham — who has yet to hold a single press conference since she took over the job from Sarah Huckabee Sanders in July — told Karem that she had made a “preliminary decision” to suspend his “hard pass,” as the press credential is referred to, for 30 days.

However, just two weeks later, Grisham sent Kaerm a letter stating that she had “made a final determination” to implement a formal 30-day suspension. The Press Secretary justified her decision with a description of the Playboy correspondent in the letter that stated:

“Mr. Karem’s conduct, taken as a whole, was unacceptable and disruptive, and requires a response to ensure that it does not happen again,” Grisham said.
The Press Secretary said she carefully considered a range of potential responses,” including “permanently revoking his hard pass, providing a written warning, and taking no action,” but eventually decided that “permanent revocation would be too great a punishment.” However, she wrote, “Taking no action, on the other hand, would be insufficient.”
The contretemps with Karem was not the first time that Trump and his press staffers have tried to silence a reporter who they found too bothersome. They tried — and failed — to do the same thing to CNN’s head White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, last year. His pass, too, was restored by an appeal to the judicial system.
Although the White House supposedly reformed its suspension rules after the courts decided that Acosta’s banishment violated due process rules, Karem says that he didn’t believe that the new methods were any better than the old system.
“It’s a kangaroo court,” Karem told CNN in August. “It’s the exact opposite of due process. ‘You’re guilty, want to come in here and tell us why you’re not?’ No, that’s not due process. That’s the exact opposite of due process.”
Karem’s attorney, Ted Boutrous, agreed that the issues were “the same” in both Acosta’s case and Karem’s.
“Just like with Jim Acosta’s case, the White House out of the blue suspended Brian Karem’s press pass based on nonexistent standards, with no notice of what the — the standards of conduct would be,” Boutrous said. “And so we have a lot of the same arguments.”
In Karem’s eyes, the entire episode was a First Amendment issue.
“I am proactive, and I am a smart aleck,” Karem admitted on Sunday. “But I’m not going to apologize for that. That’s OK under the First Amendment.”

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Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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