U.S. President Donald Trump has welcomed the CNN network's boycott of his upcoming White House Christmas party. Trump has repeatedly accused CNN of being unduly critical of his administration, while the network's journalists have asserted that the president is undermining press freedom.
On Nov. 28, a CNN spokesperson announced that the network would refuse to attend the annual White House Christmas party, The Hill reports.
"In light of the President's continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as invited guests," the spokesperson said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders took to social media to sardonically respond to the news.
"Christmas comes early!" Sanders tweeted out. "Finally, good news from [CNN]."
Trump responded to his press secretary's tweet, asserting that his administration should block the network from access.
"Great, and we should boycott Fake News CNN," Trump tweeted. "Dealing with them is a waste of time!"
On Jan. 11, Trump began accusing CNN of fabricating news stories about his administration after the network reported on a dossier alleging that the Russian government held leverage over him. During a press conference to address the dossier story, Trump refused to take a question from CNN journalist Jim Acosta, according to The Guardian.
"Not you," Trump told Acosta. "Your organization is terrible ... I'm not going to give you a question. You are fake news."
After assuming office, Trump repeatedly blasted CNN's coverage of his administration and urged his supporters to disregard its reporting. On Nov. 27, the president also suggested that the global community should dismiss CNN's work.
"[Fox News] is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly," Trump tweeted out. "The outside world does not see the truth from them!"
CNN Communications blasted the president's social media missive, tweeting in response: "It's not CNN's job to represent the U.S. to the world. That's yours. Our job is to report the news. #FactsFirst."
Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon asserted that Trump's tweet struck a nerve with CNN because many foreign correspondents were vulnerable to intimidation and violence overseas.
"I think this reinforces a point that he's made over and over, which is that he doesn't really care about press freedom or the rights of journalists," Simon told Politico. "It doesn't really concern him that journalists around the world are being murdered or imprisoned in record numbers."