Brian Karem, Playboy’s chief White House correspondent, says the White House notified him on Friday of a 30-day suspension of his press credentials, a move he described as retaliation for asking critical questions of the Trump administration. Karem, who is also a CNN analyst, announced on Twitter that he would appeal the suspension. In comments to The Washington Post he said the White House told him the move was in response to his failure to “abide by basic norms of decorum and order” during an encounter with “a guest of the president” nearly a month ago—his very public shouting match with former White House aide Sebastian Gorka following a press conference in the Rose Garden.
“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,” Karem told the Post, adding that the incident happened 21 days ago and he’d since been allowed to attend press briefings. “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. Playboy has backed him and called the suspension “incredibly concerning,” saying in a statement on Twitter that the publication was working with lawyers to appeal the move.