tv April Ryan Under Fire CSPAN September 29, 2018 10:00am-11:11am EDT
i'm heidi daniels, president and ceo of the library. i want to thank you all for being here tonight for the special edition of pratt's writer live. what a great turnout. i'm so glad to see all of these seats filled. i want to give a special welcome to all of our members of our pratt society here tonight. your support makes programs like this one possible. thank you also to our host at church of the redeemer. they have been so kind to let us host so many of our programs here as our central library undergoes its historic renovation. and also welcome c-span joining us here tonight. fall is a big season for us at the enoch pratt free library. you can take one look at our newspaper, the compass, which hopefully you got this evening, and see how much we have going on. i also encourage everyone to come out at the end of this month to the inner harbor for the baltimore book festival. the pratt will once again be
running the children's stage and have an all-star author lineup. it's a great time for the entire family. our fall season is also packed, kicking off with tonight's special presentation. how many of you here attended last year's book lovers breakfast? if you did, raise your hand. great. good. good. well, it was a sellout crowd, if you didn't attend, and we even had to move it to a bigger ballroom because so many people wanted to see the woman who i'm about to introduce. she filled that room for us. april ryan is a veteran white house reporter who has covered four presidencies. you are probably used to seeing her on television as an analyst for cnn or asking the tough questions in the white house briefing room. she's been a correspondent for the american urban radio network since the clinton administration and in 2017, ryan was named the national association of black journalists of the year,
journalist of the year. she is also a best-selling author who calls maryland home. when we found out she was releasing a new book, we knew we had to have her back. in "under fire" ryan gives her unique look at the trump presidency from inside the white house. the book was only released this month and is already being called a must-read. yes. if you haven't gotten your copy yet, mahogany books is here tonight selling "under fire" in the library so you have an opportunity to get your book signed after the program. now, please join me in welcoming april ryan. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you.
thank you so much. it is so good to be home. it is so good to be home. this is home, seriously. baltimo baltimore. i'm that kid who grew up in baltimore city and i can't leave. i don't know what it is, traveled the world, you know, go to the white house every day but something, there's some special juice here in baltimore. yes. [ applause ] i want to thank you guys for coming out tonight. it touches my heart, it touches my heart, it touches my heart. tonight is not about politics. it's not about party. it's not about party but it's about freedom and humanity. freedom and humanity. for such a time as this, i know
you're watching the news today and everybody's talking about a certain book. hello, my name is bob woodward. congrats to him. you know, first, before i even go into this conversation, and we are going to have q & a, i will talk to you a little bit about what i've been through. you know, what you see in that briefing room is nothing compared to what i've been through. i want to acknowledge a couple of people who are here tonight. oh, my goodness. i've got a lot of friends here tonight. i want to acknowledge first the former mayor of baltimore. where is he? he was here, i saw him. he's been a mentor, a friend and
someone who has helped me navigate these murky waters, for real. i also want to recognize, i'm seeing people i haven't seen in awhile, carla, jim, my doctor's here. i'm like wow. my doctor's here. and someone who surprised me backstage who you have seen on television but he's from that other network but i will give him a shout-out anyway, his name is john harwood. john, stand up. he toils with me in the white house and on that other network. you know, he's always -- wait a minute. i think i see the principal of my children's school, is that correct? oh, my gosh. lord, have mercy. everybody's here tonight. thank you for coming. i'm not going to call you out. oh, gosh. thank you for coming. i'm not going to call your name but it's one of those nice schools in the community.
but i want to say this. tonight is extra special for me, because i get a chance to tell my story to my community, baltimore. you know, washington is just down the street, 30 miles for some, 50 miles for others, but the mentality is totally differe different. covered four presidents. covered four presidents, for 21 years, and i look like i'm 17. for 21 years, called by name by each president. at least three, i know the names they called me. this one -- but i studied at morgan state university just down the road. studied for this. this was my vocation, not
knowing that i would be under fire for asking questions. i have asked questions of each president, the same question except for one, of each president over the last 21 years, but asking questions now has me fearing for my life, which is real and i'm not going to get into that, but it's real. i think about the vision of those founding fathers hundreds of years ago who talked about who we were as a people. they came up with something and i think about "schoolhouse rock." if you don't know this, google it or youtube it because it was in "schoolhouse rock." we the people in order to form a what? a more perfect union.
some of us need to go back to "schoolhouse rock" but it's all right. we are still forming a more perfect union. we are still going through growing pains. this is growing pains. it's tough but it's growing pains. think about that, we the people. i'm one of those people who are crazy to believe that i'm part of we the people. i believe what you tell me. john, am i telling the truth? thank you. i'm one of those people who believe that then there's something called amendments. it's not a mistake or coincidence that included in the first, not second, not third, not fourth, not fifth, not sixth, the first amendment, is something called freedom of the press. i'm going to say it again. it's not a coincidence that the
first amendment includes freedom of the press. so our wonderful founding fathers who i'm sure had slaves never envisioned a girl from baltimore getting her car, driving all the way down the street, going to this beautiful place, 1600 pennsylvania avenue, raising her hand, asking questions. i'm sure they never envisioned a donald trump. stop. i will get y'all straight because i'm not going to get in trouble. i'm already in trouble. i'm sure they never envisioned social media and the twitter or the facebook, the book, whatever. but in the midst of all that, with their vision, what they wrote, what they decided upon, covers all of us. before i start into my book,
april ryan "under fire, reporting from the front lines of the trump white house" i will tell you this. every day i walk into that building thanking god that i am free. thanking god that i have the freedom to ask mr. president, what's going on with russia and sean spicer says stop shaking your head. where is he now with his book? that's another story. that was bad. i'm sorry. also, before i go any further i want to thank the pratt library. they have supported me. you are not an author unless you go through the pratt library in baltimore, maryland. i want to thank the pratt and eddie and sylvia brown for supporting me. they are the ones who make this happen. also, judy, where are you? where is she?
she's in the back. she believed in me from day one. thank you. she's in retirement and she's back for me tonight. thank you, judy. so there's an old negro spiritual when i think of freedom, oh, freedom, oh, freedom, oh, freedom over me, and i will be buried in my grave and if you know the rest, and go home to my lord and be free. this is serious for me. this is so serious for me. because if i am not allowed to ask questions, you're not going to get the information that you need. if they're suppressing me, they're going to suppress john and everyone else in that room. the late senator john mccain was so right, i thank god for the words that he said before he
passed away. he talked about oppressing and suppressing the press. if you begin down that line, you begin a what, dictatorship. who are we in 2018? what are we? for a time such as this, i just think about, and these books that are out right now, it's not a coincidence about these books talking about the dysfunction. bob woodward, god bless him. he's gone into the stratosphere because he's painted the picture that we already knew, but he's putting something to it, he's giving it texture and context and even the tapes -- god bless her, i wish her well -- then you have me, we are all talking
about the dysfunction. there is some kind of commonality here that's true. bob woodward, how are you going to call bob woodward an idiot? bob woodward is part of that reporting team that uncovered what? watergate. uncovered what? watergate. and for many of you who were around at that time, you remember what it smelled like, what it tasted like and what it felt like. president nixon tried to do what? discredit the reporters. and look at what happened. in 2018, it's happening again. there's a threat and there's a reason for that. there's a reason for that. we're still trying to find out, but there's a reason for that. so let me start off with chapter one of my book. the chapter is called the rebuke.
and i think about how when donald trump decided to run, people thought it was a joke. stop it. c-span is filming. be careful. behave. and even his own party, the republican party, the republican party said hm, it's not going to happen. i'll never forget a cold night in washington, d.c. and listen to this, this is in chapter one, i will paraphrase it because i want you guys to read it. i didn't mean it the way it came out but yes, it's a good idea. i'll never forget a cold night in washington, d.c., i was leaving the white house, invited to the republican national
committee building, and reince priebus at that time was head of the rnc, and dear sean spicer was a consultant for the rnc. they had asked some of the cream of the crop, black reporters to come to the rnc because they were looking for the black vote. yes. they were talking about oh, they were on the dry erase board talking about this is what we're going to do, this is how it's going to happen, these are the numbers that happened before and we are going to crunch this because this is what we're going to do. me and myself, i'm always raising my hand, i said well wait a minute, there's a candidate out there in this field of 25,000, i said that's talking and it's not about coming together and unifying to win. i will never forget how reince and how sean were up against
that wall like they were the king makers, like yeah, it's going to happen this way, it's got to happen this way. i said but, but, but you got a candidate who is dividing the nation on race and i said how are you going to get him to conform to what you want? talking about donald trump. they said well, he's going to need our data. hm. donald trump not only proved them wrong, but he proved that you could be president without the minority vote. and they were left with egg on their face. a rebuke of the party wound up being the rebuke of donald trump against the party, thumbing his nose at them from the very beginning. but what we found from donald tru trump, code words at events and rallies, these private rallies, thrust against the press, and i
think about how he galvanized people, how he brought people together -- see, we are like-minded people in this church listening to something tonight, but there's another side that uses the same formula but in a different manner. you've got to think critically when you're watching the news and watching these events, because sometimes things just ain't right. so chapter one, page 16, another tactic trump used to galvanize his core supporters came to me in an a-ha moment. in summer of 2017 i took my kids to new york city to see the broadway musical "wicked" for the third time. yeah, i know. we love broadway. more important, to see actress sherrilee ralph, who played head mistress of the school. my friend made theater history by being the first black woman
to play the role on broadway. it was art imitating life when one of the characters began to reveal the plot of the play, making the green witch the enemy of oz. the character says the best way to unify a people is to create a common enemy. yeah. mind you, "wicked" the book was published in 1995 and the play was a broadway musical in 2003. this thought pattern was laid well before donald trump decided to create a common enemy but he understood what to do. how do you bring people together? find a common enemy. we saw that with birtherism. we saw that with a lot of other stuff. and we see it now with the press. the press is a threat. we're the enemy of the people. why? because we're asking questions that make sense?
we're asking questions that help america? and it's not coincidence either, i mean, the stars are just lining up today. i don't know what it is. these poll numbers, have you seen the polls? one of the pieces of the poll, the cnn poll, i will call cnn, i don't use four-letter words anymore, i love the other network, but the cnn poll talked about this one question in their poll talking about the press, the american public doesn't like the treatment of the press. people understand that once you quiet them down, you don't get the information. what's the problem? we got a lot overhead. we got russia. sean spicer says if we go to a restaurant and have russian salad dressing on our salad, we
have russia. but when it comes to me, i will tell you a story about how i became the enemy. and it still hurts to this day. it started when the president was running for office. he had someone very close to him who was loyal to him, he thought was loyal to him, thought was loyal to him, that person was on "the apprentice" with him and everything. ssh. i knew that was going to get y'all riled up. come on, now. but this person has been my friend. i met her during the clinton yea years. i mean, we were close. i thought we were close. she was working in al gore's office, when al gore wanted to talk to me, she called me. it's okay, yes, let's do this, an interview, wow.
it's about access of a principal to find out what's going on, what's happening. then she left, she had sharp elbows and they pushed her out. she failed up until she finally failed out. you know, walking around this town and other towns, you run into each other sometimes. we hung out a lot around the country when we would do different events. got close and got closer. but when president trump decided to run for president, that's when it happened. he had disdain for the press. donald j. trump did not like the press. it was clear. we saw it before he became president, he was chastising my poor jim acosta. yeah. now, you know, tells jim to get out, won't answer my questions at all, looking me straight in
the eye and pointing to somebody else. that's okay. like sean, she's trying to have an elegant [ inaudible ] as well. so it was time for her to prove her mettle. it was time for her to prove at one point she was a democrat-loving, barack obama supporting, bill clinton supporting, hillary clinton supporting democrat but now i'm a republican, i'm a conservative. i want to show you that i'm in your camp, what can i do to make you believe me? while all of them were looking at her askew. so the closest thing that she could find was me. a friend. she wanted to cut my hair off, put it on a platter and serve it up to president trump to show that she was loyal, to garner
their support and trust. one of the worst things you can do in washington is lie on someone about taking money. she tried to kill my career by saying i was taking money from hillary clinton. oh, yeah. now, here i am, a kid from baltimore, not west baltimore, not east baltimore. northwest baltimore, baltimore county. i stand on the shoulders of too many people in this room, i stand on the shoulders of harriet tubman, i stand on the shoulders of my great great grandfather who was the last known slave in my family. i stand on the shoulders, i came from a blue collar and a white collar family. both my parents are gone to glo glory. they worked too hard, they worked too hard in this city for me to get where i am, to let someone who wants to prove something to somebody, for me to lose any standing. so what did i do?
to deserve this? a friend. so she was bad-mouthing me saying all this, so i pulled away and a couple months later, how dare she, are you still going to be in my wedding? i did not get the swatch for the gown. i never answered her. but you heard the rumors about that fight between the oval office and sean spicer's office. it happened because i confronted, i'm like why are you telling people that i'm taking money from hillary clinton. john, yes, it happened. you heard about it, right? yeah, good. it was like did you hear april ryan -- i'm from baltimore. you better back up.
i'm a little scrappy. i may be 51 years old, but you know, i wasn't going to fight. i wasn't going to do a cardi b. and nikki minaj but sometimes you have to let people know you're crazy enough to go there so they leave you alone. in the book, i talked about that. my aunt says sometimes you got to hit a bully one good time and they will leave you alone. you got to figure out, and i know, i know the principal and the teachers from my kids' schools are here. i'm sorry, i don't teach but yeah, i do tell them this. okay, it's all right. it's okay. i know where she got it from. they know me, i'm not worried about it. but sometimes, you got to know when to fight and you got to know when to fall back. now, here i am in a black network by myself. i'm not at abc, nbc, cnn, cbs.
i am at american urban radio network that's giving me 21 yea years. i didn't have a producer behind me to hold my back, hold my purse. i didn't have that. when we got into this argument, she started coming out of her neck with all these crazy things. i'm like what are you talking about? she screamed loud enough to the closed door of the oval office. i'm like oh, god, the president's going to come out, it's going to go on. that's how bad it was. about a week and a half later, a week and a half later, the saga continues. it's all in the book. i got receipts. week and a half later, you saw it on tv. remember that one and only press
conference, that president trump had. remember that? oh, come on, you remember that. it made news. it made news. it went viral. my child was in school, my oldest child was in school, and this is where i love social media, but where i hate social media. i'm still in the room and she's in a current events class and she text messages me mommy, are you okay? i'm like my heart is in my stomach. what am i, baby, i'm great. i had to let her know i'm okay, there's collateral damage to this. the president of the united states called on me and the blood rushed to my ears right away, because he started to say this is going to be a bad question. i'm like no, it's not, sir. good, i like watching you on tv. that's the one and only time he
said something nice to me and i still grab on to it. but he said to me can you get the cbc together, are they your friends. you laugh. it was a serious question. he had talked about an -- we are an urban area, whether you like it or not. baltimore is urban. i don't care what part of baltimore, you are urban. how you going to fix the ills? the africa chld n-american comm still has the highest number of negatives in almost every category. that is not myth or conjecture. that is fact. unfortunately, i for the most part was the only one asking the question until he shut me down. so the president said can you get them together, are they your friends. first of all, that was omarosa's job.
and i don't dare say that. but the blood's flowing to my ears and i'm like you are embarrassing me. i said this is not about race, this is about omarosa. it was more sinister than it was racial to me. are they your friends, can you get the meeting together, and just a week and a half before, i was told i was taking money from hillary clinton publicly in that fight, right? so you see the connection. i'm already labeled as the bad person. and it continued. sean and i had a decent relationship prior to all of this stuff happening, but as soon as that happened, boom, i was now the enemy. stop shaking your head. it's absurd. and oh, my goodness, here comes sarah.
she picked up right where he left off, and worse. i'm ridiculous. a whole bunch of stuff. she said so much stuff, she just gave up. we tried to do a reset after that pie. sometimes when you, some families, you're going into families and this is all in my book, "under fire" written by bob woodward -- look, i'm not mad at -- come on, bob, work this out. you know, it was so bad between sarah and i for a moment, she asked me to her office because i stopped going up there because it was so thick and so tense. the only time that i would see sarah was when i would seat in
my seat, third row, smack dab in the middle and you cannot miss me. she would be looking at me, point somewhere else, thinking she's going to get me. i'm like that's not a gotcha moment, i'm all right, i too will survive this because i have been through worse. but she felt something was wrong. she said -- i know, right? she said let's get together, let's talk. i said okay, let's do dinner. but this was after that thing and honest to god, i didn't realize my influence on social media. how many of you go to thanksgiving and take pictures of your thanksgiving table? you don't? okay, i'm sorry. but i'm going to tell you something. the friends that i have, we take pictures. we are thankful for that bounty of plenty. we are thankful for that harvest, that feast that's on the table. we take pictures next to the pie that we made or next to the turkey. we do that. i'm serious.
i mean, that year, i didn't bake because i was so busy, i took a picture of the food that i had in the tin in the back of the car just showing this is my bounty for the table. well, that picture came out. that picture came out. that picture, i said wait a minu minute, i said sarah, i said you need to show a picture of that pie on the table. and she didn't say anything but lord knows, fox news went off on me with burlap and rock, whatever their names are, i don't like talking about people but the things they said about me. i mean, the world came down on me over a pie. and even her daddy, pastor, reverend, governor huckabee, went on fox news talking about
you don't talk about a southern woman and their culinary skills because you'll get gutted like a deer. i said is that a veiled threat? i said she can fight for herself, she's a grown woman, she's 35, i'm 51. i mean, she needs to know how to stand up for herself in standard of having daddy come to her defense all the time. but it was okay. we had a moment. she said where did we go wrong? i said i would love to talk to you, so we went to dinner, trying to find commonality. we talked about our religion. we talked about our children. she's a mother, i'm a mother. we talked about our death threats. yeah. we talked about life. we talked about her boss. stop. really, because as a reporter, i want to learn about who he is and what she really thinks of
him. i said you know, sarah, this wasn't about getting an interview but i would like an interview. she said this is a good step. but not long after that, it began again. why? because her boss doesn't like me. why? why? because i'm not perceived as their base. why? why? because i'm asking questions that they don't want to answer. it's not just all about race. i've asked about russia, asked about north korea, asked about chi china. and i did ask a question that they didn't like that's put me on the blacklist. if you don't know about it, google it. it's in my book.
it still gets me kind of upset. no one, no reporter, should ever have to ask a sitting united states president, mr. president, are you a racist? no one should ever have to ask a sitting united states president and on the day that i asked that question, that day meant a lot to me. it was the time when we were celebrating the marcher who is now a martyr, dr. martin luther king jr. the president was announcing the fact that dr. king, his center was going to be expanded by the national park service and that was the only time i was in the pool that day. the pool is when there's a certain number of people
representing each medium, going into the small rooms or traveling with the president be it in the vans to the golf course, the trump golf course, or to trump international hotel or something trump. it's true. john's laughing because it's true. i'm serious. or you know, or we go to the roosevelt room or the oval office. everyone, all the press cannot fit into those rooms so that day it happened to fall on me. i was the representative for radio. and i began questioning myself leading into that question. i knew i was going to ask it but i had not decided if i was going to ask it, because that was a question that was so heavy. the weight of that question still is an albatross around my neck. again, no one should have to
ever ask a sitting u.s. president in 2018 are you a racist. but think about it. prior to that, we had fredericka wilson, yeah, and sergeant ladavid johnson issue. the young man, the soldier, one of the soldiers who was killed in nyjer by an ambush by boco haram. we had charlottesville. five or six times the president had to figure out where he stood. in front of the teleprompter, we're okay. but if he spoke off the cuff, the world came to an end. we were like did you hear that, what did he -- people were -- i don't know, i said i can't help you, i got to work this out myself as a reporter. people were coming to me like -- i'm watching it just like you are. maybe with a different vantage
point but i'm still watching it. then in that meeting or series of meetings, when the president was supposed to be using his heart to deal with issues of immigration, yeah, they kept saying the word heart. just a couple weeks prior to that, he was saying those who come from nigeria, who come here, don't want to go back to their huts. and then just days before this, there was this question if the president did or did not say those words about brown nations. i will respect this church, i'm not going to go there because you know what the words were, were alleged to be said. i heard so many people, oh, he's a racist, oh, this. you got to be careful how you label someone.
you got to be careful what you say about someone. because words matter and they can hurt someone. so with all these leaders, not just black leaders, saying he was a racist, i said what is the definition of a racist? so i called my friends over at the naacp, the head of the naacp. i said look, and they didn't know what i was going to do but i wanted to get it right because when i go and ask a question, it's researched. i talk to the people involved, i go and google it and find out other stories about it, i try to be as knowledgeable on a subject that i can be to present it to you and ask the questions so there won't ever be a gotcha moment. so when i talked to the head of the naacp, he said to me it's simp simple.
the definition of a racist which i have been called and it's not true, i'm called a race baiter. i'm like i'm not a race baiter. but the definition of a racist is so simple. it's the intersection or meeting of power and prejudice. that's simple. so the next day, the next day, in the roosevelt room, ben carson's in there -- stop. secretary ben carson. from baltimore. great surgeon. johns hopkins. remember that. all right now, guys. look, he came out, he supported me. i got to say this, he supported me when lynn patton of hud called me miss piggy. i'm like oh, gosh, yes, because
i asked the words mr. president, are you a racist. but i want to say this. when i was at morgan state, i loved miss piggy. i thought she was fabulous. i used to call myself miss piggy. she doesn't know that, but anyway r anyway, moving on, i digress. in that room, patton was there, ben carson was there, the niece and nephew of dr. king were there. not the children, not bernice, not dexter, not ml3. they are going to talk about the greatness of dr. king and see, i intrinsically understand what it means to be black in america. i understand what it means to be a human being in america. i understand what dr. king did for america. if he and robert kennedy had lived, it wouldn't have just been about race. it would have been about poverty and fighting against poverty for
all people. if they had lived, six weeks apart they were killed. the dream is still alive but the dreamers were killed. i understood. i come from a home not too far from here. we're not too far from here. not too far from here as a kid, my mother had the picture of dr. kennedy and king up there -- president kennedy and king and i'm going to tell you, this is not about my politics, this is about what they did. if my mother and father, if my mother was still alive when barack obama was president, we would have pictures of the whole family, barack obama, michelle, sasha, malia, and the bobbleheads. see, i come from that family. i come from that family. and my mother was the woman who gave me my heart, my father gave me the courage, my late father, he passed away august 8th. my mother always taught me, i'm
telling you, whenever i would be sitting at the kitchen table and if i had a peanut, do you know how many uses of a peanut there are? george washington carver. i'm like okay, mom. i stopped eating peanuts for a long time. i look at a peanut butter jar like oh, get away from me. we would go to a stoplight, do you know a black man -- oh, mama. i came from that household. i understood who i was as a person in this nation, and understanding that i don't hold my head down, i walk boldly because we come from a beautiful overcoming community of people. but i'm part of the broader community. i understood that, so that day, the weight of that question was on me. i threw that question out. he didn't respond. mr. president, will you answer any of these questions?
and his little friend, pastor scott, no. i said you know who that is, right? yeah. um-hum. he's in the book, too, not for so many nice reasons. you know how president trump met him? through michael cohen. it's true. so i asked again, president trump is hugging paris denard, mr. president, are you a racist. he walks out the room. that question laid in the air for days. am i telling the truth, john? it took the president three or four days to answer. no, i'm not a racist. whatever he said. but because i asked that question, i could feel the anger in the room.
they wanted to throw it on me, enemy of the people. i have been labeled racist, i have been labeled everything but a child of god because i dared to ask a question. my life laeb threathas been thrm people who don't know me. i had to take measures against people who don't know me. if i don't ask the question, some of those questions, then who will? i grew up watching helen thomas asking questions of ronald reagan. sam donaldson, i think i get my big mouth from him.
sam knew how to throw a question. i watched them, i worked with these people. today, i'm somewhat ashamed in what i see. sometimes in that room some people want to be friends with the administration. we are now conservative reporte reporters, liberal reporters but i pray that i stand right here as that person who used to watch walter cronkite and say that's the way it was. trying to be fair. these are questions that are on people's minds. if sarah would have called on me today, what did you think about the poll numbers, sarah, and she would come up with something smart. it's not a coincidence that all these poll numbers are saying the same thing. when it comes to freedom of the
press, i am biased. i worked hard for this. i continue to work hard for this. some of the worst days of my career have been in this administration. they wanted me gone. they wanted me fired. they wanted me to give up. why? because i choose to continue to ask questions. i think about what my aunt said, sometimes you got to hit a bully one good time. i'm by myself but i'm not by myself. i stand on the shoulders of those wonderful founding fathers who had the foresight to understand that information is power. this is not a new game. just the delivery system is new. back in the day, they used the run through the town, talk about things, you know, in the town
square, or they would write it in the paper. today, we are writing, video'ing, we are on the twitter, the facebook, but we're still moving. information is power. what makes us different than russia and china, the free press. an independent press. it' we were at a luncheon being honoreded and there was a person between us and she said you're still there. i said so are you.
you haven't seen the rest of it. it's coming. you haven't seen the mueller report. it's coming. i'm going to tell you something, this president creates his own story and we were there to cover it. it's coming. in the midst of it all, i'm going to ask you to stand with us, the free press, because it's not about us. i'm not supposed to be the story. it's not about me. i just happen to be telling my story because if i didn't tell my story, they sure wouldn't. it would be a different way. but i ask you to stand with us. we need you. because if they did what they did to me, to john and everybody else, and i will leave you with this. charlottesville weekend, we all remember where we were. it was the ugliest moment in this era. i was in new orleans that
weekend with my children. at saturday night, i received the journalist of the year award from the national association of black journalists. the next morning, a dear friend of mine who has been around for a long time, alexis, she was blowing my phone up. she said april, april, april, i'm like what, i'm sleeping. i had a great night. she said have you seen the ads. i said what ads? she said look at the ad. she sent me this text. i was the only white house correspondent the weekend of charlottesville in this ad saying reporters are trying to thwart trump's agenda. black woman reporter during charlottesville and the president approved of this message. yes. the other people in the ad were like don lemon, wolf blitzer, rachel maddow, chris matthews,
all friends. i was in good company. but i'm trying to thwart an agenda? if they can do it to me, they will do it to others. but i implore you once again, stand with us. it's about freedom. oh, freedom, oh, freedom, oh, freedom over me and before i be enslaved i'll be buried in my grave and go home to my lord and be free. thank you. [ applause ]
thank you, guys. now you see why i don't want to leave baltimore. thank you. i will take a question now. please come to the mic. don't be afraid. c-span is just watching. don't worry about it. i love c-span. come to the mic. yes, sir. i know who you are. it's a college classmate. i got friends here tonight. college classmate. 30 years ago, we were on that campus together. i know. ssh. morgan state university. >> welcome home, april. >> thank you. >> as a member of the academic community who focuses mostly on history, i have a question about politics and the cross-section of history, particularly as it relates to this time. lee atwater and richard nixon in 1968 worked out the southern strategy, tied it to the gop.
they didn't own that. democrats used this tool, you know, as necessary. but there was a split in the republican party as to, you know, as to how dangerous a tool, how dangerous an instrument this could be. so george papi bush was not a fan. we had others use this tool. now it's kind of come around like a chainsaw. how is the gop now looking at this strategy as a useful tool for motivating their base? it's not behaving in the same way that it used to. it's out of control. >> let me say this. did you hear his question? okay. the question was talking about the southern strategy and
different time periods and most recent times people have used race to kind of divide and what is the republican party thinking about this racial attack to gin up the base. there are people of good will in both parties. people see. what i will say is early on, the republican party was watching the numbers, they said we're going to watch the numbers. if the numbers tanked we are going to walk away from him and try to save everything for the midterms. well, it's kind of late now because the numbers are just starting to tank and the midterms are around the corner but i will say this to you. there is something going on. president trump was born out of the discontent -- let me say this. remember when barack obama was elected president, remember, remember where you were. you remember when donald trump was named president.
barack obama was named at 11:00 p.m., president trump 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning but you remember where you were. many of you were awake, right? okay, whatever. i'm going to say this. there's a common thread between both of those historic presidencies. know what that thread is? the word change. there are people on all sides of the spectrum who feel they are not touched by government so therefore, when they heard barack obama, i'm going with him, i'm going with him. when others heard donald trump, i'm going with him, i'm going with him. for better or for worse. donald trump was born out of birtherism, okay? he played on race. it was a direct reaction to the election of barack obama. now, it's not even waiting eight years. now let's see what's happened. people are not -- people are not feeling this. i think about selma, alabama. what happened in alabama against
roy moore, the black belt, i'm talking black belt was about rich soil, not about black people, but it is about black people. black women said they remember selma, bloody sunday. i will never forget. selma, i was there with president obama when we went there to commemorate the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. it looks like a town that time forgot. the economics are still bad. all you have to do through a sepia tone picture, it looks like the same place, just in 2018. but those people said no more. we're not doing this again. they did not vote for roy moore. now, what are we seeing today? i have never seen this in my life. what happened in massachusetts? presley. now in 2018, i don't care what you think about maryland, it might be all this and all that, it's still a southern state, maryland, we're not new york, maryland, georgia and florida,
three african-americans are poised to be, potentially be governor of those states. i have never seen this. there is a reaction to this. so people are not -- it is not just black people. people are seeing what's happening and they are upset. so it can be a southern strategy all it wants. for every action, there is a reaction. i met andrew gillum last week. he reminds me of first and second term barack obama but he has this theme of everyone. universality. i met stacy abrams over the summer. we communicate. same thing. universality. known ben jealous. i want to see what happens. i don't know what's happening in each state but i want to see because anything can change,
because you've got this quiet move of african-americans voting but then you got this other move that could come up and say we're not going to let it happen. that's what happened with trump. that's what really happened with andrew gillum because they didn't expect it. it just came out of nowhere. one thing he did say to me when i talked to andrew gillum last week, he said the reason i came out of nowhere, just like you in that press room, the florida press is mainstream america. they weren't paying attention to me. ...
so that in fact people will vote. let me say this, i am not an advocate. you may think i am. don't go out there -- i am telling you, as a human being, though you exercise your freedom and privilege to vote. i don't care who you vote for, go vote. before you go in there, use critical thinking and research the candidate. politics is personal. politics is so personal. it is all played out in public now. what i would say is, go vote. what i do is, i let you you hear the naacp and black caucus talk about hate. vote against hate. i also hear other people from other walks of life. i try to give you all walks of
the spectrum. yes, i am a black woman. do i feel hate? yes. i am telling you to go vote. my children, this is the honest to god truth, they do not know my political persuasive. if they did know, they would tell everybody. they have big mouths. my daughters were so angry with me. they don't like the fact that the president has done what they have done to me. my children said you are republican. you voted for donald trump. i said i am a reporter. i still want to interview donald trump. i think that is good when people don't know. they don't know which way you fall. that is a good thing. i don't care who you vote for, go and vote. please. too many people died. we are sprayed.
dogs fighting through their skin. vote. please. thank you. thank you. at math mac high. you see things so much more close than the rest of us do. this is certainly a unique admin ration. are you still surprised by things? let you know, on days i mike i can't top this. how is going to claim that a podium today it is the watch the president they something. well, what the president met to say, that is not what he said. no. oh my gosh. they insult our intelligence quite a bit. you can see it.
at one point, am i crazy? you are questioning your self. what you embrace, this is different. you know what you know it you know how they handle it. you know you are all right. it is not normal. it is not normal. this is not normal. go take a vacation and breathe and the comeback. this is not normal. [applause] i'm going to call it out. it is not what you report, it's what you say on tv. i speak the truth. what is the problem? what comes up with me comes out. i just tell it like i see it. you cannot put anything on me now. it is all right. i hope i answered your question.
thank you. this is not normal. not at all. the mat primaries in presidential election i asked the same question over and over again. how is he doing this? how is trump winning. never a direct answer to a simple question. how is he doing it? i like your response to this. all of this is driven by only one thing. a real threat to white world privilege worldwide. >> the forgotten nail. that is what the republican party called it. the forgotten nail. the forgotten white man who felt like they were not touched by government.
he made people who felt like they were not a part be a part. this is the thing that trips me out about president trump. and the people who support him. he's like us, no, he's not. this man has buildings in his name. he has a deserving clientele that comes to his hotel. you would not be welcome there. he is not you. even though he has this crazy comb-over and he speaks kind of weird. he is real and a lot of ways. it's just not normal in a lot of ways. how is he doing this? how is he doing this? taking the knee. they got mad with me about that. it's about the amp them. it's about the soldiers. it's about our nation. it was that day.
it was like this workout. you know. everyone just got quiet. now it is exposed. who is not more patriotic? we have someone in our family who is in the military. black, white, jew, gentile. someone who is in the police department. all right. i am most married two of them in the police department. we are patriotic. then the immigration thing. i grew up hearing about lady liberty and how she welcomed people from so many different nations. now it is a shame for us to open up our land to other people. the thing that gets me is, i
will never forget, erin for net. stop. i hear the rumbles and groans out there. talking about how we don't want the immigrants coming to this nation. talking about black and brown. a drain on the welfare system. this is when you are dangerous. when you know stuff from before and you can call it up. you can google it. you can call people. we went to commercial break. according to the center for american progress, black immigrants are the most educated that come to these shores. things changed. people play on this information and try to change history. that is what is happening. we have to use critical thinking we have to be on top of it.
this game of creating your own new facts, we are checking it. if certain people were here tonight, you would believe you are in a dance hall. you are not in the church. the sky is orange. i am serious. that is how bad it is. they will tell you things that is just not true. you've got to go back understanding. that is the job of a reporter. a reporter's status were surf head hat and microphone. sit there and sift for what you are saying and find the facts without saying you are lying. this is the truth. that is how this president is securing. playing on the fear. the race fears, the culture fears. there is a divide here that was created just so they could be loyal to him.
that is the way i see it. that is the way it was. >> in the way it is. >> september 11, 2018. [applause] thank you. thank you baltimore. i love you. i appreciate you. thank you so much. thank you. thank you everyone. thanks, jim. thank you all. thank you, thank you. >> thank you so much everyone for spending your evening with us. both are on sale in the hallway from the right. signing the books further up the right. thank you and good night. >> tv is on twitter, facebook and instagram.
as celebrate 20 years we want to hear from you. post your favorite moments from the left 20 years using the # 20. the mac former congressman, what are you doing these days? be like enjoying my new role. one year anniversary of working with the heartland and the two. based outside of chicago. we are are a national think things. >> what is the history of the heartland? >> it started in the 80s. initially focused on illinois. throughout the years we have expanded to where we have ongoing discussions with legislatures in every state of the union. we are perhaps the most read publication coming from the heartland institute in the state capital.