Judge orders White House to reinstate reporter’s pass
by Agence France-Presse
The White House was ordered Tuesday by a federal judge to reverse its suspension of a reporter’s press credentials.
Playboy reporter Brian Karem’s White House pass was temporarily revoked after he argued with President Donald Trump’s former aide Sebastian Gorka at a July Rose Garden event.
Karem’s “hard pass” — a long-term White House press pass — was suspended for 30 days in August by Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, who cited his lack of “professionalism” and “decorum.”
But US District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras determined the standards for press behavior had not been made clear before the event and granted a preliminary injunction restoring Karem’s pass.
“Grisham failed to provide fair notice of the fact that a hard pass could be suspended under these circumstances,” the judge wrote.
The press secretary had cited the three rules regarding press etiquette — published after CNN reporter Jim Acosta temporarily lost his hard pass in November after a testy exchange with Trump.
But Judge Contreras dismissed the rules as too vague.
He said that as White House events appear to vary greatly in character, professionalism alone was “too murky” to rely upon.
Grisham had not originally cited the Acosta rules in her letters to Karem, Contreras said, “which casts some doubt on whether she thought that (they) provided any meaningful notice.”
Karem lost his pass after arguing with Gorka at Trump’s Social Media Summit, which was open to the press, in July.
A video of the two trading insults quickly went viral.
Karem called the attendees “a group of people who are eager for demonic possession.”
Gorka responded by shouting, “You’re not a journalist! You’re a punk!”
Karem celebrated the decision Tuesday by tweeting, “God bless the Constitution, free speech, due process,” and also thanking his lawyers.