President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. () (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

"Are they friends of yours?": Trump asks black reporter to set up meeting with Congressional Black Caucus

During Thursday's press conference, Trump said he's not racist -- then asked black reporter if CBC are her friends


Rachel Leah
February 17, 2017 4:22AM (UTC)

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."

Advertisement:

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.

Advertisement:

Immediately, Twitter fired away, including Ryan herself.

 

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.

Advertisement:

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.


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

MORE FROM Rachel Leah


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Congressional Black Caucus Trump Trump Press Conference White House

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •