Editor’s Note: Jane Merrick is a British political journalist and former political editor of the Independent on Sunday newspaper. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.
With the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, Donald Trump gained a glimpse of what it’s like to lose some – albeit only some – power.
And, when bullies think they’re losing control, they lash out in anger.
The President’s reaction to tough questions from CNN’s Jim Acosta about the Republican campaign and his immigration “invasion” rhetoric was classic bullying behavior: calling the chief White House correspondent a “rude, terrible person” shows how rattled Trump is about the results.
Just because the President’s outburst on Wednesday was in keeping with his portrayal of the media as “enemies of the people” does not mean it should be tolerated.
Trump’s decision to revoke Acosta’s pass to the White House grounds is an outrageous ramping up of his campaign against a questioning, robust. free media.
In response to a man who treats his Presidency as if it’s a series of a particularly bizarre reality-TV show, the entire White House press corps should walk out. Deny him coverage. Take him off the air. Cancel his series. Leave him to rage into Twitter’s echo chamber, which is all he deserves.
As Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, said on Twitter: “This is something I’ve never seen since I started covering the White House in 1996. Other presidents did not fear tough questioning.”
In Britain, too, Prime Ministers are asked tough, sometimes very hardline questions. I have covered UK politics during the terms of four Prime Ministers, and I have never seen a response like this.
Once, Tony Blair was asked if he had “blood on your hands” after the suicide of the Iraq weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly. This was a far more controversial question than anything Trump faced on Wednesday, yet the then-Prime Minister merely stood in stony sil