WikiLeaks Exposed April Ryan as More Than ‘Just a Reporter’
Correspondent acts confused by Trump meeting quip, offered to set up similar engagements for Clinton
April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, protested that she’s an old-fashioned reporter Thursday after President Donald Trump suggested she could set up a meeting between himself and the Congressional Black Caucus.
“No, no, no,” she said during the president’s news conference. “I’m just a reporter.”
“I’m from the old school where we just report. I’m not supposed to be the news.”
Interviewed later by CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, Ryan doubled down on the narrative.
“I’m from the old school where we just report,” she said. “I’m not supposed to be the news.”
And she tweeted: “I am a journalist not a convener! But thank you for answering my questions.”
The veteran Washington journalist, however, appeared to be a bit more than a chronicler of current events during last year’s presidential campaign. Emails pilfered from Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s email account and published in the fall by WikiLeaks suggest a rather chummy relationship between Ryan and the Clinton camp.
At one point, she even suggested a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“FYI I also just talked with Marcia Fudge and Sheila Jackson Lee,” she wrote on April 18, 2015, referring to representatives from Ohio and Texas, respectively. “Also, Lets make the black reporters meeting happen asap.”
The email was a followup to a request Ryan made earlier that day for Clinton to meet with black reporters. The subject line read, "Hillary Clinton needs to sit down with black reporters fast. Her efforts in the black community are not resonating."
Ryan wrote: "I would love to be a part of this sit down hopefully in DC."
Ryan was one of a number of journalists invited to an off-the-record dinner at Podesta's home days before Clinton announced her candidacy. The following day, Ryan apologized to Podesta for missing the dinner and asked if Clinton showed up.
"No, but the food made up for it," he answered.
Replied Ryan: "Sounds great. I am going on MSNBC hardball is there anything I should say about Hillary Clinton on the show!"
On April 18, 2015, Ryan asked for help in preparation for her upcoming appearance on "Face the Nation."
Ryan also doled out generous portions of praise for Clinton. She sent an email to Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri about Clinton's appearance on "Saturday Night Live" in October 2015, in which the Democratic candidate played a bartender named Val while cast member Kate McKinnon impersonated her.
"She dropped the mic tonight!" Ryan wrote in the subject line, adding, "That means she was great!!!! So you may have to keep Val up a bit in a fun kind of way. Very cool!"
A week later, Ryan also wished Clinton good fortune for her upcoming Democratic primary debate.
"BTW, good luck Tuesday," she wrote. "No, Kick Some But [sic] Tuesday!!!!!"
But even if WikiLeaks had not exposed Ryan's private communications, there is evidence in the public record about her political sympathies. In a September 2015 "Hardball" appearance, Ryan gushed about Clinton.
"You would see a very easygoing woman who would laugh," she said. "A woman who is a woman. You would see a lot of that, I guess like you said, sister to sister come through."