CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta said press secretary Sean Spicer is getting to be "kind of useless" due to the White House's decisions not to allow reporters to record an off-air press briefing on Monday.
"Sean told us in the past that he would get an answer as to whether the president believes in climate change," Acosta said on the air. "The question was asked during this briefing today, ‘Well have you gone back and asked the president that?' Sean Spicer did not have an answer to that question — whether the president believes in climate change, on a matter that happened a couple of weeks ago. So the White House press secretary is getting to a point, Brooke, where he's just kind of useless. If he can't come out and answer the questions, and they're just not going to do this on-camera or audio, why are we having these briefings or these gaggles in the first place?"
Acosta had previously expressed his frustration with the White House's decision to allow no video or audio of the press briefing on Twitter, posting, "Make no mistake about what we are all witnessing. This is a WH that is stonewalling the news media. Hiding behind no camera/no audio gaggle."
Make no mistake about what we are all witnessing. This is a WH that is stonewalling the news media. Hiding behind no camera/no audio gaggles— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 19, 2017
There is a suppression of information going on at this WH that would not be tolerated at a city council mtg or press conf with a state gov.— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 19, 2017
Call me old fashioned but I think the White House of the United States of America should have the backbone to answer questions on camera.— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 19, 2017
"The White House is refusing to answer those questions on camera or in any kind of fashion where we can record the audio," Acosta said Monday. "My guess is because they want their evasive answers not saved for posterity. That is the only conclusion one could draw — that when they give us answers that it somehow reads better in print than it can be seen on television or heard on the radio."
Frustrated with what he called "stonewalling" from the White House, Acosta expressed his concern about the direction press briefings and conference appear to be taking under the Trump administration.
"Well I guess people could go ‘there goes the media again, they're acting like crybabies because they can't handle things the way they want'" Acosta said. "Maybe I'm old-fashioned, Brooke, but I think that the White House for the United States of America should have these questions answered on-camera so we can see what they're saying. When they don't do this, they're just doing a disservice to the people of this country. I don't want to sound like I'm getting on my soapbox here but when Sean Spicer the White House press secretary, who's pretty highly paid for a government official in this country, comes in and says, ‘You can't record the video or audio from these briefings,' that wouldn't be tolerated at city council meetings or at a governor's press conference, and here we have the representative of the president of the United States saying, ‘No you can't cover it that way,' I just don't know what we're doing."
Acosta said it feels like "we're just covering bad reality television" and he was not entirely sure why reporters had even covered Monday's press briefing.