Donald Trump’s war on the free press rages on unabated, injecting instability and vitriol into our national political discourse on a daily basis. Never before has an American leader shown such naked, self-serving disdain for one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy.
Consequently, it’s become more and more difficult for journalists to do their jobs safely. Threats against members of the press have spiked, with death threats becoming par for the course for reporters covering politics. Trump has convinced many of his followers that the media is an enemy of the people, in a page ripped right out of the authoritarian playbook.
While there are numerous courageous journalists standing up to the Trump regime on a daily basis, few have proved as stalwart or outspoken as CNN‘s April Ryan. Ryan has repeatedly confronted professional liar White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, refusing to simply accept the outrageous mendacities that Trump’s mouthpiece regularly spews from her podium. In retaliation, the administration has singled out Ryan and attacked her on numerous occasions.
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Now, in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter Ryan has revealed the terrifying fallout of Trump’s media attacks. Ryan has been forced to hire a bodyguard to ensure her personal safety after receiving a slew of threats.
“They’ve put a target on my head…. I’ve had death threats. I’ve had craziness. All I’m going to say for my safety is: I have a team,” Ryan revealed.
Trump and his team bear direct responsibility for this absurd situation. To reiterate: an upstanding member of the press, peacefully practicing her constitutional right to free press and free speech has been so vilified by this administration that she fears for her life enough to hire someone to protect her. When asked if Huckabee Sanders is a fair target for criticism, Ryan didn’t hold back.
“All of the above. All of the above. She should be ashamed of herself for going out there, saying some of the things that she’s said,” said Ryan. “She tries to insult my intelligence. And not just my intelligence, the world’s intelligence…. They always have to go back and press-splain, man-splain the president after he says something. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Words mean something, especially when you get to that level.”
Ryan’s palpable frustration is shared by millions of Americans who are tired of being saddled with an administration that lies more than it tells the truth, that has so little respect for its citizens that it presumes they’re stupid enough to believe whatever half-baked narrative they choose to trot out.
Ryan went on to double-down on her criticisms of Huckabee Sanders, going so far as to suggest that the Press Secretary herself should pay for the cost of the bodyguard because of her role in fomenting such violent hatred for the press, and for Ryan personally.
“I’ve had some people wait for me outside the White House…. There is a concern now. I mean, I’ve had death threats, I’ve had craziness, so I have a real concern. An honest, real concern…. Do I have a bodyguard? Yes, I do. Am I paying for it? Yes, I am. And, I think [Sanders] should have to pay for it, especially if she’s stirring it up with her boss,” Ryan said.
Ryan and her fellow reporters must be commended for their bravery in the face of not only constant ridicule from the White House, but actual threats of violence. Now, more than ever we need them to stand up for the truth and fight for our democracy.