A fiery clash between a former Donald Trump adviser and a CNN journalist has been captured on camera outside the White House.
The confrontation was sparked as right wing and fringe media figures gathered outside the building’s Rose Garden for a “social media summit” on Thursday.
Footage shared widely on social media, shows CNN political analyst Brian Karem, stood amid a crowd of mainstream media journalists, responding to a Trump supporter who repeatedly asks him not to be “sad” that he’s not part of the summit.
“No I’m just standing around,” Mr Karem can be heard saying in response.
He then taunts those attending the summit saying: “This is a group that is eager for demonic possession.”
A chorus of laughs can then be heard, before former White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka loudly pipes up, saying “ … and you’re a journalist, right?” sarcastically.
Mr Karem responds by beckoning Mr Gorka with his hands, saying: “Come on over here and talk to me brother. We can have a long conversation.”
Mr Karem says something inaudible that prompted Mr Gorka to charge across the garden and confront him face-to-face.
“You’re not a journalist! You’re a punk!” Mr Gorka then screams in the journalist’s face.
Mr Gorka can then be seen turning and walking away as the President’s guests chanted his name — as Mr Karem cups his hands over his mouth and yells “go home” several times.
“Hey Gorka, get a job,” he yells.
One reporter from the White House press yelled at Mr Gorka as he left: “You should not be attacking journalists like this!” she said.
As the cheers die down, one of Mr Trump’s guests tells Mr Karem: “Just for the record, he’d kick your punk ass”.
Mr Trump used conference to applaud far-right social media provocateurs even as he conceded that some of them are extreme in their views.
The President used the event to air grievances over his treatment by social media chiefs, but also to praise some of the voices on the right, who help energise his political base.
“Some of you guys are out there,” he told them. “I mean it’s genius, but it’s bad.”
Mr Trump singled out for praise James O’Keefe, the right wing activist whose Project Veritas organisation once tried to plant a false story in The Washington Post.
In May 2010, Mr O’Keefe and three others pleaded guilty in federal court to a misdemeanour in a scheme in which they posed as telephone repairmen in Senator Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans district office.
“He’s not controversial, he’s truthful,” Mr Trump insisted of Mr O’Keefe.
Playing to the friendly crowd in the East Room, AP reports that POTUS was at ease, joking about everything from his spelling in tweets (blaming his thumbs, not his brain, for any mistakes) to his hair (saying the rainy weather at his July 4 outdoor speech at least proved his hair was real.)
“With amazing creativity and determination, you are bypassing the corrupt establishment, and it is corrupt,” he said. “And you’re bypassing the very, very corrupt media.
“You’re challenging the media gatekeepers and corporate censors to bring the truth to the American people. … You communicate directly with our citizens without going through the fake news filter.”
Earlier in the day, Mr Trump sent a stream of Twitter messages lashing out at social media companies and the press.
The meeting represented an escalation of Mr Trump’s battle with companies like Facebook, Google and even his preferred communications outlet, Twitter, where he has an estimated 61 million followers.
The President has claimed, without evidence, that the companies are “against me” and even suggested US regulators should sue them on grounds of anti-conservative bias.
Mr Trump announced Thursday that he is directing his administration to explore “all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free speech rights of all Americans”.
He added that he is inviting executives from major social media platforms to join him at the White House over the next month or so.
Originally published as ‘He’d kick your ass’: White House blow-up