‘Mr. Karem did not use the access granted to him for journalistic purposes…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Brian Karem, a reporter for Playboy, is suing President Donald Trump and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham for revoking his White House press credentials after he started a disruptive altercation in the Rose Garden several weeks ago.
In the lawsuit, Karem’s attorneys accuse Grisham of violating his right to due process by revoking his press pass without giving him the opportunity to challenge the White House’s “preliminary decision,” according to Politico.
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta was able to have his credentials restored last year by court order after the White House decided not to press forward with a challenge. However, the administration issued new guidelines to the press pool that outlined their expected conduct.
During Trump’s social media summit in July, Karem harassed radio talk-show host Sebastian Gorka, who then responded by yelling at Karem.
Video footage showed Karem taunting Gorka, telling him to “come on over here and talk to me, brother, or we can go outside and have a long conversation.”
Gorka then shouted, “You’re a punk! You’re not a journalist, you’re a punk!” to which Karem replied, “Hey, Gorka, get a job!”
My $$$ was on Seb as I note pic.twitter.com/yXfJfOKaZT
— Jim Hanson (@Uncle_Jimbo) July 11, 2019
Grisham—who replaced long-suffering former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in June—said that Karem’s behavior broke “widely-shared understandings and norms of media professionalism” and “decorum.”
In a letter to Karem earlier this month, Grisham explained that she didn’t think “a set of explicit rules was necessary to govern behavior by members of the press at White House events.” She gave Karem one business day to “contest” her decision.
But Grisham’s terms didn’t “provide Karem an opportunity to be heard before making the ‘preliminary decision’ to suspend his hard pass,” his attorneys argued.
“The decision was improperly predetermined, as Grisham sought and obtained presidential approval for the sanction before even notifying Karem of the charge, let alone hearing his defense,” the lawsuit continues.
Grisham said in a statement she stood by her decision.
“The purpose of a hard pass is to provide access to the White House so members of the press can report and ask questions of officials who are taking questions,” she said.
“Mr. Karem did not use the access granted to him for journalistic purposes—in fact, the President had left the event,” she continued. “Instead, he used his press pass to insult invited guests and make comments that threatened to escalate into a physical confrontation to the point that the Secret Service intervened.”