New April Ryan Book Delves Into 'Reporting From the Front Lines' of Trump White House

Ryan: Freedom of press comes before right to bear arms in the Constitution

April Ryan / Getty Images
August 30, 2018

Reporter and CNN commentator April Ryan is promoting a new book about covering the Trump White House, evoking wartime imagery with the title of Under Fire: Reporting From the Front Lines of the Trump White House.

Ryan has covered the White House for more than 20 years for American Urban Radio Networks. Since President Donald Trump took office, she has gained greater national prominence for her antagonistic interactions with White House spokespeople Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Amazon describes Ryan's book, set to be released this weekend, as an "unprecedented inside view of the Trump White House."

Veteran White House reporter April Ryan thought she had seen everything in her two decades as a White House correspondent. And then came the Trump administration. In Under Fire, Ryan takes us inside the confusion and chaos of the Trump White House to understand how she and other reporters adjusted to the new normal. She takes us inside the policy debates, the revolving door of personnel appointments, and what it is like when she, as a reporter asking difficult questions, finds herself in the spotlight, becoming part of the story. With the world on edge and a country grappling with a new controversy almost daily, Ryan gives readers a glimpse into current events from her perspective, not only from inside the briefing room but also as a target of those who want to avoid answering probing questions. After reading her new book, readers will have an unprecedented inside view of the Trump White House and what it is like to be a reporter Under Fire.

Ryan, who got her gig on CNN last year shortly after a clip of Spicer telling her to "stop shaking your head" went viral, frequently commentates on the frosty relationship between the press and the White House.

Ryan said she has received death threats over her reporting and insisted in a recent interview that the White House should pay for the bodyguard she now employs. She told The Hollywood Reporter that she has been "treated terribly" as a member of the press corps.

"What's happening is unprecedented. I am a member of the press corps, one of the deans of the press corps now … and I've been under attack. And lied on. Treated terribly. And if I don't tell the story, you won't get it. So, I'm putting it out there, because people see one side of it. I'm giving you the whole thing … The way they've treated me for asking questions that are fair and logical," Ryan said.

Ryan recently said that Sanders engages in "gutter" politics and has implied that the press secretary wants to fight her physically. The veteran reporter has also asked Trump if he is a racist, whether he had considered resigning, and whether he believes slavery was wrong.

Trump asked Ryan once at a press conference if the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are "friends of hers" as she asked a question about them; Ryan is black and said Thursday on CNN that even now, the clip of that moment makes her "cringe."

"I've gone through a lot in the last two years, but it's not necessarily about me. It's about giving you a glimpse of what's happening to the press in this lofty place, the White House," she said, adding that Trump and his principals have decided to turn on the press.

"We are number one when it comes to amendments ... First Amendment, and that is not by coincidence," she said. "Number one before all of the others, to include freedom to bear arms, number two. Freedom of the press, and it's been challenged."

"They've lied on me, and it's been a journey, and it's been a journey to attack the free press that stands for the American public, whether people believe it or not," she continued. "If we don't ask the questions, you don't find out what's going on. If we are not there, you don't know, the public doesn't know what's happening."

When Ryan covered Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, she said, "they thought that I was a Republican," and when she covered George W. Bush, "people thought I was a Democrat." So, Ryan added, she must have been doing her job correctly. She said it is different with Trump, however.

"This administration seems to find something wrong with me," she said.