The Trump administration’s hostility towards the press is well documented. From calling fair-minded, fact-based reporting “fake news,” to degrading individual reporters for doing their jobs, to issuing press credentials to fringe right wing extremists, there is a clear disdain for traditional media in the White House.
Now, it is being reported that Omarosa Manigault, a former reality television personality who somehow managed to get a job in the White House (sound familiar, Mr. Trump?) as a member of Trump’s communications team, has taken the hostility one step further by actually threatening a member of the press.
April Ryan, a White House correspondent for American Urban Ratio Networks, has alleged that Omarosa confronted her outside of press secretary Sean Spicer’s office, physically intimidating her and warning her that the White House had compiled embarrassing “dossiers” on Ms. Ryan and other members of the press.
Ms. Ryan refused to be intimidated. She told the Washington Post that “[Omarosa] stood right in my face like she was going to hit me. I said, ‘You better back up.’ … She thought I would be bullied. I won’t be.”
The confrontation was witnessed by Washington Post reporter Abby Phillip, among others. As reported by New York Magazine, “Phillip said she didn’t hear every word, but Ryan told her afterward that she felt Manigault’s behavior was ‘Secret Serviceable,’ meaning it warranted intervention by law enforcement.”
As reported by the Washington Post, Ryan feels “devastated” by the unethical intimation to which she was subjected. “It’s just ugly,” she said. “She’s trying to harm my integrity and my career. I’ve been [covering the White House] for 20 years. I plan to be here for the next 20 years. You don’t mess with someone’s livelihood.”
The Trump team’s treatment of the press should be deeply disturbing to voters. That the White House has gone so far as to compile “dossiers” on individual reporters is beyond outrageous, and is a threat to core first amendment freedoms.