White House adviser Kellyanne Conway insisted CNN reporter Jim Acosta had behaved inappropriately during a presidential news conference.
Acosta's hard pass to the White House was revoked after President Donald Trump called him a "rude, terrible person" for dogged questioning, and administration officials say the reporter improperly touched an intern as she tried to grab a microphone from his hands.
"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 Fox News. "Obviously, I don't think anybody should have -- any young woman, particularly -- should have 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."
Conway insisted the administration was among the most accessible and transparent in history, but anchor Bill Hemmer questioned whether punishing Acosta was appropriate.
"Look, there are journalists here at the White House who every single day try to do their job by getting the story, others try to get the president," Conway said. "They shall remain nameless right now, and I think that some people like to grandstand and be part of the story. There is no question about that. We hear that from other journalists. Maybe they will not come forward and say that, but they say that. They think that some people, not to name names, but make everybody look a little less authoritative and less biased."
Conway said the president had no choice but to attack the press because they had treated him and family members serving in the White House unfairly -- and took a swipe at Hillary Clinton.
"He has to defend his agenda, members of his administration, members of his family," she said. "You want to talk about the red-hot tone, what about the woman who lost in 2016 and can't seem to get over it, saying we can't be civil to members of the opposite party. What about Maxine Waters? She said, you see members of the Cabinet, get up in their faces. Now she is set to be the chairman of an important committee. Jerry Nadler just said yesterday, on a train ride down from New York to Washington, was caught by a reporter saying that he's going to work to impeach President Trump and Justice Kavanaugh. You want to talk about red-hot tone and substance, there it is."
"It's dangerous," she continued. "I've been physically touched I have been yelled at, my kids have been threatened. Tucker Carlson, your colleague, he had a mob show up at his house last night, his wife was hiding in a pantry. Let's talk about red-hot rhetoric. I will stand here all day long in my heels and talk about it, but I will not let it be made to be the president's fault."