Prominent African-American radio reporter April Ryan shared her harrowing experience with a black pro-Trump pastor at the “president’s” sham Martin Luther King Day press conference that tried to whitewash the “president’s” racist “shithole” comments from a few days prior.
On a Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) panel with other respected journalists at D.C.’s Newseum, Ryan recounted how she had asked Trump if he is indeed a racist, only to encounter a black pastor catcalling her, hissing profanities, then trying to silence her with increasing volume, as she repeated her question to the fleeing Coward-in-Chief.
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I’ve never felt fearful like that . . . I was doing my job, whether you like the question or not . . . This is the President of the United States, and when you have people . . . wondering about comments that you’ve been making over and over . . . I had a right to ask. It’s a sad day when you have to ask the sitting U.S. president if he’s a racist.
But the pastor did not want her to exercise her right to free speech.
“There was an expletive, and words were exchanged, and he said, ‘You were rude . . . I kept saying, ‘This is about the First Amendment.’”
The moderator, an older white male, mentioned that “some reporters” were asking the president directly, “Are you a racist?” — forcing April Ryan to have to clarify, “It was me asking.”
Her response rallied applause, but the moderator reflexively dismissed her, saying, “Well I think there may have been a few others . . .”
There were not, if you watch the video of the incident. Ryan’s face looked none-too-pleased with the moderator’s trivialization of her courageous lone voice.
With friends like him, black woman journalists need no enemies. Implicit bias like that is the silent seed of vocal racism and misogyny like that exhibited by Trump and his henchmen.
Nevertheless, April Ryan persists. Every day, she returns to the White House press pool and holds the Trump administration’s proverbial feet to the fire, despite their best efforts at painting her as a kook.
Her service to the nation deserves to be protected by every citizen who believes in the freedoms to which America aspires.