CNN correspondent Jim Acosta blasted the White House on Monday for holding an off-camera press conference that news outlets were not permitted to record.
Speaking to CNN’s Brooke Baldwin after the briefing, Acosta lashed out at press secretary Sean Spicer, and questioned why he and other reporters bothered attending in the first place.
“The White House press secretary is getting to a point, Brooke, where he’s just 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 or audio, why are we even having these briefings or these gaggles in the first place?”
Acosta pointed to multiple recent instances in which Spicer has declined to answer questions about President Donald Trump’s position on climate change, leading Baldwin to wonder aloud if Spicer is even having conversations with the president about the subject.
“It’s a really good question, Brooke, and 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 said.
Acosta then linked Monday’s off-camera press briefing to Trump’s reluctance to hold press conferences he’s held a handful of brief joint press conferences with foreign leaders, but only one on his own since becoming president in January.
“I don’t know why everybody is going along with this,” Acosta said. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me, and it just feels like we’re sort of slowly but surely being dragged into what is a new normal in this country where the president of the United States of America is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions.”
The commentary echoed points Acosta made on Twitter during Monday’s briefing, in which he again accused the White House of “stonewalling” and bemoaned what he saw as “a suppression of information.”
Spicer’s off-camera press gaggle coincided with reports that he is leading a search for his own replacement to take over the briefings.