The only reason veteran reporter April Ryan gets called on during White House press briefings is because of her race, not her talents, according to a fellow Black reporter.
Ryan, a CNN political analyst and author, recalled her colleague’s biting words in her forthcoming book, “Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House.” Their tense exchange reportedly happened in February 2017.
“A conservative Black female reporter had openly, in my presence, spoke the wrong words, saying, ‘ … The only reason you get called on is because you’re Black,’” Ryan told the Washington Examiner.
In an interview with the paper, Ryan outed the reporter in question as Francesca Chambers, a White House reporter for the Daily Mail. The American Urban Radio Networks journalist said Chambers must have felt “entitled” and figured “she could outperform a seasoned reporter who’d been there perhaps since before she was born.”
“To this day, those words don’t sit well with me,” Ryan writes in her book, which doesn’t name Chambers explicitly. “At that time, I had had enough! ‘Yes!’ I said to her. ‘You ain’t shit!’ In front of everyone, asking her, ‘Who you think you are? You’re Black too, in case you didn’t know it!’”
Ryan said Chambers made the harsh comment because she was upset she wasn’t being called on by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Their dustup allegedly unfolded the same day Ryan nearly came to blows with ousted Trump aide Omarosa Manigault outside the West Wing.
“That was diminishing me,” she said of the alleged slight.
On Monday, The Daily Mail issued a statement to the Examiner addressing Ryan’s accusations
“It’s a sad day for journalism when a reporter makes false claims against another reporter to sell a book,” the publication wrote. “Ms. Ryan knows what she has written to be false and she is also fully aware of the unacceptable way that she has treated Ms. Chambers in the White House for the past two years.”
Ryan quickly took to Twitter to defend herself and even threatened legal action.
Ryan’s book is set to hit shelves on Sept. 1.