White House Suspends Press Pass of Reporter Who Threatened Trump’s Guests

August 3, 2019 Updated: August 3, 2019

Playboy reporter Brian Karem had his White House press pass suspended on Aug. 2, several weeks after he threatened guests of President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden.

Video footage showed Karem, 58, telling some of the people Trump invited to his Social Media Summit and a subsequent announcement on citizenship, “This is a group of people who are eager for demonic possession.”

In response, Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide, shouted, “You are a journalist, right?”

Karem responded by beckoning Gorka over, saying: “Come on over here and talk to me, brother. We can go outside and have a long conversation.” Karem also told Gorka, an immigrant from Hungary, to “go home.”

The footage was captured by Jim Hanson, president of the Security Studies Group.

Neither Karem nor Playboy apologized for Karem’s actions.

Karem, who also works as a political analyst for CNN, told his followers on Friday that he got an email informing him his pass had been suspended for 30 days.

“I can and will appeal this decision,” he added.

Playboy said in a statement: “Suspension of credentialed press by the government is incredibly concerning. We are working with our lawyers to appeal the decision to suspend @briankarem. Since 1953, Playboy has fought to protect First Amendment rights, and the fight must continue today.”

Another user told Karem that Gorka should have been suspended from the White House, not Karem, to which the reporter replied, “Yes.”

Gorka on Twitter thanked Trump and White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham “on behalf of Americans who’ve had enough of FakeNews punks like @BrianKarem.”

Playboy reporter Brian Karem shouts at a White House guest on July 11, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Says Karem Was Rude

Karem told The Washington Post that the letter informing him of the suspension said that the reporter “failed to abide by basic norms of decorum and order” on July 11, when he made the demonic possession comment and shouted at Gorka, “a guest of the president.”

Karem said he disagrees and claims the move was because of the way he questions Trump.

“They’re claiming [the reason is] something that happened 21 days ago. I’m there every day. If this was an issue, it should’ve been brought to my attention long before now,” Karem said.

“I know what they say the issue is, but that’s not the real issue, or they could’ve talked to me at any point in time prior to now. As a matter of record, they never spoke to me once about it.”

A White House staff member reaches for the microphone held by CNN’s Jim Acosta at the White House in Washington on Nov. 7, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Acosta

The White House last year suspended the press pass of CNN’s Jim Acosta after the reporter pushed away a White House intern who tried to retrieve a microphone from him.

Acosta’s pass was restored later in November as then-press secretary Sarah Sanders issued new rules for White House reporters.

“We have created these rules with a degree of regret. For years, members of the White House press corps have attended countless press events with the president and other officials without engaging in the behavior Mr. Acosta displayed at the Nov. 7, 2018, press conference,” Sanders said at the time.

The new rules included limiting questions to one per reporter, with a potential follow-up.

Acosta has continued making claims without evidence, such as accusing Trump of “concocting” a national emergency in February.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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