April Ryan said on Thursday that correspondent Kaitlan Collins was banned from a White House event partially because First Lady Melania Trump was caught watching CNN.
During a panel segment about the Wednesday’s banning, host Wolf Blitzer asked Ryan, a CNN contributor, to respond to White House Communications Director Bill Shine, who attempted to deflect the controversy by insisting that he never used the word “ban” when he told Collins that she couldn’t attend the White House event. Collins had apparently angered President Donald Trump with questions about his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, at an event earlier in the day.
“They play these word games to insult our intelligence,” Ryan told Blitzer. “I’m trying not to be angry because I’ve been [a White House correspondent] for 21 years.”
“We are allowed to lob questions at the president,” she continued. “You cannot at this moment in history and time think that we’re not going to ask. You don’t have to answer. Do not think that we’re not going to ask a question.”
Ryan said that Shine’s physical “intimidation” of Collins was particularly troubling.
“This is over the top,” she explained. “This is strategic, what they did… CNN had that exclusive about those Cohen/Trump tapes. They were angry. And now this. There is retaliation. And this administration doesn’t look good.”
“This president was sworn in, taking the oath of office to support the constitution,” the White House correspondent remarked. “In the very first amendment is the freedom of the press. He is violating his oath.”
Ryan concluded by noting that the president reportedly “erupted with rage” after the first lady had decided to watch CNN aboard Air Force One.
“He is also upset that Mrs. Trump is watching CNN,” Ryan stated. “So, that all plays into this. That is the truth.”
Watch the video above from CNN.