April Ryan: The press is 'under attack by this administration'

Story highlights

  • "I happen to be a black woman, but I'm part of the press," Ryan said
  • Spicer told Ryan to "stop shaking your head" at a White House briefing

(CNN)A veteran White House correspondent who engaged in a tense exchange with White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday the media is "under attack" from the Trump administration.

"We are -- the press is -- under attack. We are under attack by this administration," American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan said on CNN's "New Day." "It's about discrediting credible media."
Spicer told Ryan at Tuesday's briefing to "stop shaking your head" and accused her of being "hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays," after she asked him about the investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.
    Ryan, one of the few black female journalists in the press briefing room, declined to say if she thought Spicer treated women journalists differently but did highlight another recent incident involving Spicer and another female journalist.
    "I happen to be a black woman, but I'm part of the press," she said. "But this is part of a series of two women this week who have been in the news over something with the press secretary."
    "I just see from the weekend that reporter from Politico who he called an idiot and then this situation, it's showing a pattern," Ryan added.
    Ryan was referring to a Saturday tweet from Politico's Tara Palmeri that said President Donald Trump is considering removing White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Spicer denied her report.
    "She is an idiot with no real sources," Spicer told Breitbart News in an email.
    Spicer and Ryan had a much more positive exchange at Wednesday's briefing when Ryan was the first journalist the press secretary called on. The two exchanged pleasantries while smiling and laughing as others in the room laughed.
    Ryan previously had a tense exchange in February with Trump over his desire to meet with black lawmakers.
    When questioned on whether he planned to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, a group of African-American lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Trump asked Ryan if she could organize it herself.
    "No," Ryan replied, adding that she was "just a reporter."