For the last two-plus years, whenever a journalist churns out a story or tweet that is even mildly critical of Donald Trump, he or she risks getting harassed, trolled and threatened by pro-Trump trolls. It seems that there is an 11th Commandment that we didn’t know about–“Thou shalt not speak ill of the Almighty Trump.”
The latest journalist to find this out the hard way is April Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks. At Tuesday’s White House press briefing, she asked if Trump was thinking about resigning in the wake of the multiple scandals swirling around him. Watch the ensuing exchange with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders here.
By now, you know that Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, was the target of an search warrant as part of a federal criminal probe into bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations on his part. If it turns out that there is evidence Trump and Cohen collaborated on unlawful activity, it would not be covered by attorney-client privilege. For that reason, according to John Cassidy of The New Yorker, Trump is potentially in a lot of trouble–and firing Mueller won’t make it go away.
Under the circumstances, it made perfect sense for Ryan to ask if resignation was at least an option. Sanders harrumphed that it was a “ridiculous question.”
Less than 24 hours later, Ryan dropped by CNN’s “Wolf” to reveal that things had gotten rather hairy in the short time since that press briefing. She claimed that she has been getting death threats from a number of Trump supporters. Her offense? Simply doing what any journalist worth her salt would do.
“We all have sources, we talk to people. And when you have turmoil or conflicts constantly coming up, or making major decisions where people are investigating you, there is always a scenario at the White House where there is plan A, B, C, D, or E. And it’s been on the table. The issue is, and it’s been on the table from what I’m hearing from my sources, that was one of the possibilities. So I asked that question, in the midst of the fact that the president’s personal attorney had his properties raided to get information from a search warrant about what is going on with Stormy Daniels and others and the trail of money.”
Ryan believed that given the unprecedented nature of such a raid, as well as what her sources were telling her, asking about a possible Trump resignation only made sense.
However, a number of ardent Trump supporters were “outraged and angry” at Ryan for even asking such a question. So outraged, in fact, that they have bombarded her with death threats severe enough that “we’ve been calling the FBI.” But Ryan isn’t backing down one inch even though “my life is in jeopardy because of a question.”
This is actually the second time this year that Ryan has been targeted in this way. In January, when Trump made his now-infamous comments about “shithole countries,” Ryan asked him if he was a racist. Fox News called her out, and she was bombarded with death threats.
No matter what you think about Trump, this should send a chill down the spine of any fair-minded American. What Ryan is facing sounds like something you’d expect in Russia or a Third World country. It would be unacceptable for liberals to target a conservative journalist for asking tough questions about a Democratic president. It’s unacceptable here.
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