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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mocked CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta during Tuesday’s press briefing for asking a “ridiculous” question.
Reporters shouted over each other as Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the media and Acosta was told to “go ahead” with his question.
“Is this national security team a mess?” Acosta asked, referring to Tuesday morning’s exit of the Trump administration’s third national security adviser, John Bolton.
“Absolutely not. That’s the most ridiculous question I’ve ever heard of,” Mnuchin fired back.
“The national security team, which is what you asked, consists of the national security adviser, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, myself, the chief of staff and many others,” Mnuchin added.
The CNN reporter attempted to follow up but Pompeo quickly called on Daily Caller White House correspondent Amber Athey to ask the next question. Acosta has long been a thorn in the side of President Trump and members of his administration and has previously been accused of grandstanding during press events.
Last year, Acosta was briefly banned from the White House after he engaged in a contentious back-and-forth with Trump during a Nov. 7 press conference. Acosta declined to pass the microphone to a White House aide.
Acosta’s press pass was restored after CNN argued that keeping him out of the White House violated the First and Fifth Amendments. To coincide with Acosta being allowed to return to the White House, rules were enacted to govern White House press conferences going forward.
Acosta was scolded by Trump himself earlier this year during a Rose Garden announcement and was subsequently confronted by “angel moms” in attendance. The CNN reporter has emerged as a household name who has garnered some praise from Trump administration critics and liberal comedians such as Jimmy Kimmel.