April Ryan on President Trump's post-midterm press conference

The veteran White House correspondent discusses the confrontational press conference on Wednesday.
9:46 | 11/08/18

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Transcript for April Ryan on President Trump's post-midterm press conference
Sit down, please. Sit down. I didn't call you. I didn't call you. Excuse me, I'm not responding to you. I'm talking to this gentleman. Will you please sit down. Excuse me. Excuse me. Would you please sit down. Please, go ahead. It's such a hostile media. It's so sad. No, you rudely interrupted him. You rudely interrupted him. Go ahead. So that was veteran white house reporter April Ryan getting verbally -- Yelled at? Yelled at by the same guy who said he should soften his tone, and she joins us now. Please welcome author of the aptly titled "Under fire," April Ryan. April, April -- You laugh to keep from crying. I felt for you and Jim and all the reporters in that press conference yesterday but what were you feeling in that moment when you have the president of the United States ordering you to sit down, not do your job by asking a question, and in my view being very aggressive and disrespectful? As a 51-year-old woman, what would you think? Yeah, let's talk about the moment. First of all, as a reporter who's been doing this for 21 years, okay, you want access, you want to ask your questions, and there was a moment where the president had finished answering a question. He was finding someone to call on the next time. There was that pregnant moment, that pregnant pause that I lopped a question in. He responded, and you know what that question was? What was it because we couldn't hear. I know, it was off mic. It was voter suppression. And he responded, he responded, yeah, I got voter suppression, something like that. So I stood up. I thought he was receiving my question and wanted to talk about it. Then when he sees me, he says sit down, you know, in a very terse tone. And I was taken aback. And then I sat down and he said something about CNN and the poll numbers, so I came back, I said no, sir, just gemmed it. He tried to put fact on the table to get a response. I came back saying off mic what about Florida, what about Georgia, what about Texas, what about North Dakota with voter suppression issues. The press conference was about the midterm elections. Midterm elections, and we're still finding out more about other voter irregularities around the nation as this president is talking about voter fraud. So it was a real question and then he proceeds to tell me that I'm rude, I'm hostile, but it was a real question about a real issue that Americans just were dealing with the day before. Well, he engages question suppression also. Oh, yes. We are suppressed and oppressed. But you don't just clash with trump also. I mean, you clash with -- remember when -- They clash with me. When Sean spicer turned on you because you shook your head, bad girl, and also you and Sarah Huckabee Sanders had a little too do there with a pie or something like that. I will never eat a pecan pie again. Go ahead. There's something about you, April. What is it? I don't know, joy, but let me say this, let's put it on the table. I've been there for a while and I know a lot of things. I have some of the best Republican sources, I think, than a lot of people in that room, and I don't back down. I'm not afraid. It doesn't help that I'm a woman. Right. Doesn't help that I'm from a smaller news network, American urban radio networks, and that I'm a black woman who is not perceived to be part of their base. So they use me as an example to show this is what can happen to you. See, what they fail to realize is it's not about me, and I'm going to continue to do my job and that's what they don't like. Yeah, he says nasty things about black women. He does. Well, he -- That they're not qualified. Poor Stacey Abrams is not qualified. She's highly qualified. Yale grad. And what he said to yamiche yesterday. "New York Times" reporter. No, she's pbs now. Yamiche asked the question about nationalism, the president says I'm a nationalist. For many in this nation, not just black America, we hear a dog whistle because when you say nationalist, white nationalist which is whitesupremacist. We needed a definition. Instead of throwing it back on her, making her seem like she's racist for asking the question, just explain it. He said that was a racist question. He said he was insulted by it. Sad. It is a sad day when any reporter has to ask a sitting United States president if you are racist. I did it in January and she had to come back yesterday about white nationalism, trying to get a definition. It is a sad day in America in 2018. So the book is -- the book is called "Under fire" and -- All right, whoopi. Well, it's kind of -- it's very telling, you know, because he does talk about the media as the enemy of the state, which is very Russian by the way. Why do you keep going back? And it's a question I would ask all the white house reporters because this is the first adversarial relationship I can remember. I know that it was adversarial slightly with Nixon but not like this. Why do you keep -- what makes you get up? Why? When I started, the first press secretary I worked with was Mike Mccurry in the bill Clinton administration. He called it a friendly, adversarial relationship. And Abby, I did grow up watching the Reagan press conferences, the Nixon press conferences, and I saw people like Helen Thomas, Sam Donaldson, Ann Compton, Dan rather, those were the people we grew up with. And they were confrontational. They were. And I don't understand -- I believe that people forgot civics, U.S. History and U.S. Government because this is part of this process of we the people. This is part of our constitution, what the founding fathers set forth. I did nothing wrong, so why is it a question as to why do I go back? You know, I stand on the shoulders of my late mother and father who sacrificed for me, whoopi, to be -- they're proud. My ancestors, I'm five generations removed from the last known slave on my mother's side of the family, my mother's folk. They're proud of me. I grew up in Baltimore. I'm an hbc graduate. I had a community that supported me. And it's not about me but those questions, if I don't ask a lot of those questions they will not be asked and the answers will not be given. That's right, it's an important job. It's so important. I hear everything you're saying, April, and for what it's worth, I don't understand when you're standing up you should be shouted at to sit down. There's been many moments, one with Sean spicer which I thought was an inappropriate tone with you. When I was growing up, I'm with Abby, journalists weren't the story. The story was the story. You're absolutely right. 64% of morning con Sult poll numbers says the press has done more to divide voters than trump. What do you think is going on when so many people are blaming the media, when you can get such a reaction when trump yells at the media, at rallies. There are a lot of people in this country as you know, you're a journalist, who hate the media. You're absolutely right but I believe -- okay, we get it wrong. We get it wrong sometimes, sometimes, but there are moments when we are great. I'm going to give you an example of that moment when we were great. That moment that Suzanne Malveaux -- Suzanne Malveaux was in that elevator. She ran behind the woman who felt the pain, and she caught senator flake. If Suzanne was not at that elevator, we would not have seen the beginnings of senator flake feeling vexed and then walking around the chamber to the Democrat, Chris Kunz, to say come here, let's talk. That's when we get it right. But when we get it wrong is those people who are not the mainstream media who sensationalize and put it on Facebook and we have to consider the source. Unfortunately, we're lumped in. And now everyone thinks that they're citizen journalists. Oh, if I have my smartphone, beyond taking a cute pic, oh, I'm here, I'm going to write this and give my opinion. Part of the problem now is the line has been obscured between fact and opinion. People don't understand or know what is fact and what is opinion now. We have to really be more cognizant of trying to lay out the facts first so people will know what we're talking about. Very quickly, I've always said the media is under attack. Pipe bombs were sent to media figures. Your name was on the potential list of targets. You now have security and you say the white house should pay for it. Yeah. Why do you say that? Because they stirred it up. If they get secret service protection on my taxpayer dollars and I'm getting death threats left and right because of the stir from the top -- and I'm going to get in trouble for that but so be it. Come back. You're not going to get in trouble. Any time you say come back -- Thanks to April Ryan. Members of the audience are getting a copy of her book "Under fire."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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