April Ryan: Sarah Sanders Engaging in 'Street Politics'

May 3, 2018

White House reporter April Ryan accused press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of engaging in "street politics" on Thursday after she responded testily to a question from Ryan over whether she was out of the loop.

Ryan pressed Sanders at Thursday's briefing about Rudy Giuliani's remarks about President Donald Trump reimbursing a $130,000 hush payment made by his attorney Michael Cohen to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who has said she had a consensual sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Although it contradicted Trump's remarks to reporters last month that he knew nothing about the payment—he still denies ever sleeping with Daniels—Giuliani said the disclosure "removes the campaign finance violation."

"Why didn’t [Giuliani] talk to the White House press office about his impacting stellar statement about what was happening?" Ryan asked Sanders.

"The White House press office wouldn’t coordinate with the president’s outside legal team on legal strategy," Sanders said.

"You said yourself you were blindsided," Ryan replied. "Well, I said it. But you were blindsided from what you said."

"With all due respect, you actually don’t know much about me in terms of what I feel and what I don’t," Sanders said. "I think we’re done."

Ryan appeared on CNN after the briefing and said Sanders took her question "personally" and "it was not a personal attack." Ryan even waved to the camera and said, "Hi, Sarah," guessing the press secretary was watching the CNN broadcast in the moment.

"She was blindsided," Ryan said. "This was not a personal attack on her, and for her to say something like, 'You don't know me,' that was very street. I know there's street politics here, but that was very street."

Ryan went on to recount her career covering the White House since the second term of the Bill Clinton administration.

"I've seen impeachment, I've seen war, I've seen peace, so I understand the process," she said. "I'm not a dummy, and do not discredit me ... This is a real issue. It's not about me. It's not about her."

"This is again showing how inept some things are in this White House," she added. "Rudy Giuliani has done harm to the president by going on Fox and putting more questions in the atmosphere."

Ryan, who told Variety last month "I don't play to the camera" during briefings, has previously asked the White House if Trump had considered resigning and if he thought slavery was wrong.