April Ryan, a political analyst for CNN and a reporter for American Urban Radio, suggested Thursday that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had challenged her to a fistfight.
At the daily White House briefing, Ryan asked what Fox News called “a combative question” about whether Sanders was “blindsided” by comments Rudy Giuliani made regarding payments to porn star Stormy Daniels from President Trump’s attorney and what effect that had on Sanders personally.
“With all due respect, you actually don’t know much about me in terms of what I feel and what I don’t,” Sanders responded.
Ryan then went on CNN, misquoted Sanders, then told colleague Don Lemon the misquoted phrasing constituted a challenge to fight.
“For Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president’s spokesperson, the mouthpiece for the president of the United States, to say, ‘You don’t know me,’ in certain quarters in this nation, that starts a physical fight,” Ryan said. “I was very shocked. It was street. I will even go beyond that. It was gutter.”
Ryan double down on the claim later, after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tweeted “an unsolicited comeback suggestion.”
Rawlings-Blake tweeted that the next time this situation arises, Ryan should say, “I may not know you, but I damn sure know a LIE! And you are wearing it, Sis, all over your face – oh wait is that smudge in your liner?” she said, referencing the poorly received comedy routine by Michelle Wolf at the previous Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
“Lol stop,” responded Ryan, who is from Baltimore. “Bmore in the house I know you have my back. That you don’t know me stuff begins fist fights. She needs to know what she is saying. I am not the one.”
It was but the latest in a series of bizarre incidents involving Ryan, who has seemed to court confrontation in unique ways in her time in the briefing room. She once asked Sanders if Trump had thought about stepping down. Sanders labeled that “an absolutely ridiculous question.”
Last Thanksgiving, after Sanders tweeted a picture of pie and wrote, “I don’t cook much these days, but managed this Chocolate Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving at the family farm,” Ryan replied, “Show it to us on a table.”
Sanders responded, “Don’t worry @AprilRyan because I’m nice I’ll bake one for you next week #RealPie #FakeNews. Ryan came back yet again with a tweet that read: “I am not trying to be funny but folks are already saying #piegate and #fakepie. Show it to us on the table with folks eating it and a pic of you cooking it. I am getting the biggest laugh out of this. I am thankful for this laugh on Black Friday!”
Two weeks later, Ryan whined about not being on the guest list for the White House Christmas Party.
“I don’t think I was overlooked,” she said at the time. “I think they don’t like me. For whatever reason, they have disdain for me.”
She also asked Sanders in October 2017 whether the administration “thinks that slavery is wrong,” and repeated the question several times over others trying to talk until Sanders finally answered, “I think it’s disgusting and absurd to suggest that anyone inside of this building would support slavery.”
Then, a month after that, she attacked Steve Moore, an economist with the Heritage Foundation who helped with the Trump transition. On a CNN panel debating the president’s views on immigration, Moore suggested the U.S. should focus on bringing in immigrants with skills needed in our economy.
“I would love to see an agreement that legalizes some of these folks, that provides a more skill-based system so that we get the immigrants we need,” he said.
“See?” Ryan asked. “Did you hear this? The immigrants we need. But see, again, that’s the point. Trump is demonizing immigrants.”
Moore continued, arguing immigrants “should not be able to go into the country and go on food stamps. That’s ridiculous.”
“You were not born in this country,” Ryan said.
Moore is from Chicago.