Some reporters will not be silenced by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
April Ryan, Black Journalist of the Year, took over the White House press briefing Tuesday, holding the floor to deliver a powerful condemnation of Trump’s lies about the NFL players’ protests against police violence.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tried to subvert Ryan’s questions, but, refusing to be silenced, Ryan repeatedly asked if Trump “is aware that this is about police-involved shootings, and not about disrespecting the flag.”
Sanders tried to call on CBS News Radio correspondent Steve Portnoy, and in a rare but welcome act of solidarity, Portnoy yielded his question to Ryan.
“There’s an underlying issue that just keeps going about disrespect of the flag and soldiers,” Ryan continued. “There are black and brown soldiers that fight in the military as well, who feel that taking a knee, bringing attention to police-involved shootings, is something that this White House should deal with. Is the president aware that taking the knee is about police involved shootings?”
Sanders tried to sidestep the question again, and when Ryan tried to refocus her, Sanders attacked, saying, “I would be happy to answer if you would stop talking long enough to let me do that.”
Sanders would only repeat the same talking points Trump uses routinely to smear the player protests as unpatriotic.
An undaunted Ryan asked Sanders, now that Trump appears to have succeeded in cowing the NFL owners, “Will he deal with the issue of police-involved shootings? It’s a real question. Will you take it to the president and come back to us with it?”
Sanders ignored Ryan’s last question.
Ryan similarly pressed Trump at a press conference in October, and Trump refused to address the issue of police shootings then as well.
Both Sanders and Trump have a long history of attacking April Ryan, but Ryan will not be deterred. By insisting that Sanders at least hear her question, Ryan used the White House’s own platform to fight back against Trump’s lies.