In today’s White House press briefing, April D. Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer about the lessons that President Trump may have taken from his visit Tuesday to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She asked:
What did the president gain from his tour today? You talked about where he visited, the exhibits that he visited. Did he also visit slavery? And the reason why I’m asking is, is because when he was candidate Trump, he said things like “we made this country,” meaning white America, and not necessarily black. Did he gain —
Not appearing terribly pleased with the premise, Spicer responded, “I don’t know why you would say that. What do you mean?” In turn, Ryan said, “No, no, no, he said that. I heard him say that.” With that, Spicer ventured an explanation of the president’s “eye-opening” tour of the museum.
The exchange left folks wondering precisely what material Ryan was sourcing for her claim about the president. Over at Mediaite, Alex Griswold put this question in a headline: “April Ryan Accuses Trump of Saying White People Made America. What Is She Talking About?”
So the Erik Wemple Blog rang her up. She cited remarks that candidate Trump made in mid-March 2016, such as this quote from a Ohio rally: “We’re people that work very hard. We’re people who’ve built this country and made this country great. And we’re all together and we want to get along with everybody, but when they have organized, professionally staged wise guys, we’ve got to fight back, we’ve got to fight back.”
Ryan tweeted out those remarks at the time:
@realDonaldTrump says We can't have our first amendment rights taken from us. We are people who built this country and made America great.
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) March 12, 2016
What Trump said that day and the people to whom he said it matter, as Ryan tells it. “The president said we built this country. He said that on that highly charged event,” said Ryan, noting that the audience for the event was predominantly white. “And now coming into this facility and seeing this new museum, what was his takeaway? Does he still feel the same way? That’s all it was.”
The Erik Wemple Blog moments ago asked Spicer for his take on the matter and we’ll update if we hear back.