White House reporter April Ryan is placing full blame on President Donald Trump for drumming up distrust and animosity toward the free press, which he has routinely called “the enemy of the people.”
“I’m going to say this, and I’m just going to put it as simply as I can. I blame the president for this,” the veteran member of the White House press corps told CNN’s John Avalon on Saturday.
“It is getting worse,” she added. “There’s collateral damage. It affects not only the reporter but the people who are around the reporter.”
Ryan, an outspoken critic of Trump and his administration, has been unafraid to squeeze White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for the facts during press briefings and says she feels Sanders missed the chance to defend reporters against the president’s repeated attacks.
She “had a chance to pull back, saying we’re [not] the enemy of the people. She didn’t,” Ryan said of Sanders, who has defended Trump despite his disparaging comments. “She just talked about things personally that affected her and the president.”
Ryan said she believes Trump is “keenly aware” of the harassment journalists are facing as a result of his antics.
“The death threats have got to stop,” she said. “We are a part of the Constitution — a free and fair, independent press. It’s the First Amendment. Not the second, not the third, but the FIRST.”
Ryan, who’s seen her fair share of racial harassment and threats, noted that the president has refused to walk back his statements and continues to attack anonymous sources while also condemning reporting from credible news outlets like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
“When I report, I speak the truth,” Ryan said. “And I have Republican sources who are in the inner circle, who give up the information. I don’t go in an office and go through a file cabinet. I’m given the information. Why? Because they’re whistleblowers and this administration does not like it.”
Watch more in the clip below.