It was supposed to be a press conference to announce the new labor secretary, but that was just the opening spiel. President Donald Trump quickly diverted to his favorite topics: polls that favor him, the bias of the media and the 306 electoral votes he secured (which he falsely claimed as "the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan"). Trump said repeatedly that he "inherited a mess" of a country, and he several times called his administration a "fine-tuned machine."
Towards the end of the conference, as Trump was asked about anti-semitic actions, he responded with "No. 1, I am the least anti- Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism, the least racist person."
But then April D. Ryan, a veteran White House correspondent, spoke up.
Ryan, the Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, asked about Trump's historically black colleges and universities executive order and requested an update on his vague campaign promises to "fix" inner cities. Trump essentially said, wait for the order to come out and, literally, that people are "living in hell" in the inner cities.
"Well, when you say the inner cities, are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner city agenda, as well as," Ryan questioned, before being interrupted by the president.
"Am I going to include who?" Trump asked.
Ryan clarified that she was referring to the Congressional Black Caucus when Trump interjected, "Well, I would. I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?" When Ryan said no, the president asked "Are they friends of yours?"
"I'm just a reporter," Ryan said.
Immediately, Twitter fired away, including Ryan herself.
I am a journalist not a convener! But thank you for answering my questions. https://t.co/fe9cGXG46w
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) February 16, 2017
— Sara-Ann George (@SaraAnnGeorge) February 16, 2017
Wait. T*ump just told @AprilDRyan to set a meeting for him like she's his secretary and not an experienced reporter. Y'all. https://t.co/HFPv0D4y0Y — Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) February 16, 2017
The assumptions and racially offensive remarks Trump made to Ryan are certainly nothing new for the president. Racism was one of his "biggest assets" on the campaign trail. But still, such a blatant display was shocking.
In a final twist, the Congressional Black Caucus sent a tweet out after the press conference and said they had reached out to Trump the day before inauguration. They did not receive a response.