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‘Why Don’t We Turn the Cameras On?’ CNN’s Acosta Faces Off With Spicer in Off-Camera Briefing

Sean Spicer held another off-camera briefing on Monday, much to the chagrin of CNN’s Jim Acosta, who repeatedly badgered the camera-shy press secretary over the White House rolling back press access.

Acosta first noted in a tweet that the briefing would be off-camera, with audio only allowed for release at the conclusion of the briefing:

Spicer has refused to call on the CNN reporter in recent briefings, leading Acosta to shout out questions without being called on. He took that tack on Monday, calling out a question about health care.

Spicer, apparently ruffled by the disruption, quipped, “There’s no cameras on Jim.”

“Maybe we should turn the cameras on, Sean,” Acosta shot back. “Why don’t we turn the cameras on?”

“I’m sorry you have to do this,” Spicer said, ostensibly to another reporter trying to get a question in.

“Why not turn the cameras on, Sean?” Acosta continued. “They’re in the room, the lights are on.”

The two faced off again later in the briefing, when Acosta shouted out, “Why are the cameras off Sean?”

As Spicer repeatedly called on OANN reporter Trey Yingst, Acosta continued demanding, “Can you just give us an answer to that? Can you tell us why you turn the cameras off? Why are they off Sean?”

“It is a legitimate question,” April Ryan chimed in.

“Can we get this out of the way,” an exasperated Yingst pleaded. “Can we address the cameras issue?”

“Yes, somedays we’ll have them somedays we won’t,” Spicer finally responded. “The president is going to speak today in the Rose Garden, I want the president’s voice to carry the day.”

“Look, this is nothing inconsistent with what we said since day one.”

You can hear the second exchange below, via CNN:

The back and forth between Spicer and Acosta was described by other White House reporters in the room as “testy” and “tense”:

Acosta took to Twitter after the briefing for a hashtag in protest:

[image via screengrab]

Follow Aidan McLaughlin (@aidnmclaughlin) on Twitter

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