From Media Matters:
Proving yet again that there is no “bottom” that Trump supporters won’t stoop to, veteran White House correspondent April Ryan shared the reaction she received after asking at a WH Press briefing this week whether Trump had ever considered “stepping down” in light of this week’s FBI raid on his lawyer, Michael Cohen:
WOLF BLITZER (HOST): What’s been the reaction that you’ve received since asking that question?
APRIL RYAN: The reaction has been very — there are people who support — the reason why I asked the question was not about Democrat or Republican. It was not a partisan thing, it was a reporter asking a question. But people have gone into their tribes and some are saying it was a great question, mostly people who do not support this president. And those who are supporting this president are outraged or angry. I’ve been getting death threats and we’ve been calling the FBI, and I mean, I put one on social media. And this is real. I asked a simple question. I asked a question. I did not point a finger, I asked a question, and now my life is in jeopardy because of a question. But I’m going to continue to do my job.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Ryan’s question “ridiculous” (the question was actually derived from Ryan’s sources who advised that this was an option contemplated inside the Administration). This reaction by Sanders was evidently interpreted by Trump voters as providing permission to make death threats against a journalist for doing her job, much as Trump himself tacitly and explicitly encouraged physically harming and intimidating journalists during his campaign.
Ryan herself notes there was nothing improper about asking such a question, particularly given the turmoil this Administration has been thrown into since the U.S. Attorney exercised its warrant to search Trump’s lawyer’s premises for evidence of probable criminal activity:
“That is not illogical, irrational. It is a real question on the table, the path [the] White House does not want to deal with because they’re trying to craft the picture, the winning image. And there is no winning picture at this moment,” Ryan said.
Because she is African-American and female, Ryan makes a doubly attractive target for Trump’s virulently racist and misogynist supporters. She had previously received death threats when former Trump Press secretary Sean Spicer warned her to “stop shaking her head” in reaction to his responses.
April Ryan has worked as a White House Reporter for over twenty years on behalf of Pittsburgh-based American Urban Radio Networks, serving 300 radio stations with predominantly African-American audiences.
A Baltimore native who commutes from that city to the White House each day, Ryan is the only briefing-room reporter specializing in urban issues such as law enforcement, crime, poverty and education. She has also reported on more general issues, such as the environment and foreign relations.
The type of person who would threaten a White House reporter with death for asking a legitimate question has no business calling himself or herself an American. Unfortunately, the election of Donald Trump has wholly emboldened thousands of these types of people to crawl out from under their rocks:
In January, when discussing the backlash against the press led by attacks from Trump, Ryan said that some news organizations had “the FBI, the local police on speed dial just for asking questions.”
These attacks on journalists are just another lasting consequence of the 2016 election that Americans will likely have to cope with long after the Trump Administration is just a sad footnote in this country’s history.