You may remember Brian Karem from his emotional clash with Sarah Huckabee Sanders over the administration’s family-separation policy. (“You’re a parent,” he famously noted at the time. “Don’t you have any empathy? Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent! Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through?”)
Or you may remember him from his verbal scrap in the Rose Garden with certified weirdo Sebastian Gorka about three weeks ago.
Well, now the White House, in what Karem is calling an “anti-First Amendment move,” is suspending the reporter’s press credentials for 30 days, allegedly in response to his role in the Gorka episode.
The White House wrote that Karem “failed to abide by basic norms of decorum and order” on July 11, Karem said. The letter further suggested that Karem had been rude to Gorka — “a guest of the president.”
But Karem told The Washington Post he thinks the move was retaliation by the White House for his tough questioning of President Trump. He said his attorney will appeal the suspension Monday.
The timing and the purported reason for the suspension do seem suspicious, since Karem has been around — as a reliable thorn in Trump’s side — for weeks since Gorka screamed in his face. (Will Gorka be banned as well? Doubtful. Trump appears to have an open-door policy with respect to lunatics who agree with him.)
“They’re claiming [the reason is] something that happened 21 days ago. I’m there every day. If this was an issue, it should’ve been brought to my attention long before now,” Karem said. “I know what they say the issue is, but that’s not the real issue, or they could’ve talked to me at any point in time prior to now. As a matter of record, they never spoke to me once about it.”
Yes. I can and will appeal this decision.
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) August 3, 2019
Ironically, Karem is a correspondent for Playboy magazine, which Trump has likely read more of than the President’s Daily Brief — though, to be fair, not once has he asked Trump what his turn-ons are or whether he lusts after women in his heart.
Suspension of credentialed press by the government is incredibly concerning. We are working with our lawyers to appeal the decision to suspend @briankarem. Since 1953, Playboy has fought to protect First Amendment rights, and the fight must continue today.
— Playboy (@Playboy) August 3, 2019
Karem told The Washington Post that the move was likely just a “silly” attempt to punish him. He noted that he received word of the suspension on Friday, just hours after Karem had questioned the pr*sident.
“This White House once again is arbitrarily enforcing rules with members of the press who take them to task by asking tough questions. That’s what this all about,” he said. “It’s an attempt to stifle the free press. It shouldn’t stand, and it won’t.”
I guess when shouting “fake news!” all day every day for two and a half years doesn’t do the trick, you need to ratchet up the fascism another notch.
Good luck, Brian. And good luck, First Amendment. You may need it.