A tense exchange between CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta and Press Secretary Sean Spicer regarding the ban on television cameras in the press room overshadowed the rest of June 26’s briefing.
Acosta is one of many reporters outraged over the White House’s decision to restrict the live broadcast of briefings by news organizations over the past few weeks. This shift from standard procedure of past administrations has drawn criticism from the media. Tensions came to a head today when Acosta repeatedly pressed the issue.
“Some days we’ll have them, some days we won’t,” said Spicer, who recently accused White House reporters of trying to make a scene to get attention.
Spicer also cited President Donald Trump’s joint statement with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rose Garden later that afternoon.
“The president’s going to speak today in the Rose Garden,” he said. “I want his voice to carry the day.”
Despite multiple outbursts by Acosta, the briefing carried on as usual. Main talking points included President Trump’s energy agenda, health care reform, crackdowns on sanctuary cities, and Supreme Court decisions.
The Supreme Court of the United States allowed parts of Trump’s travel ban to go into effect, overturning the decisions of lower courts.
“The president was honored by the nine-to-zero decision that allows him to use an important tool to protect our nation’s homeland,” said Spicer at the briefing. “His number one responsibility as Commander-in-Chief is to keep the American people safe, and that’s exactly what this executive order does.”
Foreign nationals with no ties to individuals or entities in the U.S. will be forbidden from entering the country. The Court will hear oral arguments for the case in the fall.
The Supreme Court also made a major First Amendment decision in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, ruling that the separation of church and state goes too far when churches get excluded from access to government grants meant for secular purposes.
Trinity Luther Church in Columbia, Missouri, brought the case after the state government refused to reimburse the cost of rubberizing the surface of its playground.
In addition to the Supreme Court decisions made today, Spicer also expanded upon other important parts of the week’s agenda, describing the schedule as “extremely busy and action packed” leading up to the holiday weekend.
Trump met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today as part of a larger effort to strengthen the country’s global influence in the energy industry. Trump hopes to sign a natural gas export agreement with India later this week.
The administration also hopes vote on three pieces of legislation this week, the largest of which is Trump’s repeal of Obamacare. Several Republican senators, including Sens. Rand Paul (KY), Ted Cruz (TX), Ron Johnson (WI), and Mike Lee (UT), have come out in opposition of the bill. Trump has reached out to these senators personally to hear their concerns, according to Spicer.
Spicer also reported that Congress is set to vote on two bills that crackdown on sanctuary cities this week.
The “No Sanctuaries for Criminals Act” would increase penalties for sanctuary cities by making them ineligible for some Homeland Security and Department of Justice grants.
Kate’s Law, named after Kate Steinle, who got shot and killed by an immigrant that had been deported multiple times, makes punishments for illegal immigrants that try to re-enter the United States after being deported previously more severe. Illegal aliens who have been convicted of a past crime will face even harsher punishment.
“Over 80% of the American people support this common sense mainstream approached,” said Spicer in regards to Kate’s Law. “We fully expect these bills to move through Congress and look forward to the President signing them both.”