A verbal spat between a White House news reporter and Trump administration communications official Omarosa Manigault reportedly got intense last week just a few feet from the Oval Office, continuing the bizarre ongoing feud between the White House and the media.
The Washington Post reports veteran White House correspondent April Ryan, who works for American Urban Radio Networks, got into the altercation with Manigault in front of witnesses just outside of White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s office. The two, who at least at one time had been friends, argued over e-mails Manigault sent to Ryan during the presidential race inferring that she may have been paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Ryan vehemently denied the insinuation.
“It’s just ugly,” she told the Post. “She’s trying to harm my integrity and my career. I’ve been [covering the White House] for 20 years. I plan to be here for the next 20 years. You don’t mess with someone’s livelihood.”
At some point late last Wedenesday, an exchange began between the two women and became heated enough that Ryan told one witness, Post reporter Abby Phillip, that the Secret Service may have had to step in.
“She stood right in my face like she was going to hit me,” Ryan said. “I said, ‘You better back up.’ . . . She thought I would be bullied. I won’t be.”
She also said Manigault made verbal threats to her and said she was among several journalists that the Trump administration had collected “dossiers” on. Asked about the altercation, Manigault responded vaguely to the Post by e-mail, saying only: “My comment: Fake news!”
During an appearance Tuesday on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” where she talked about a planned White House HBCU initiative, involving Manigault, Ryan did not comment directly when asked about the row between her and Manigault, only saying, “I wish her well.”
Spicer has not commented on the issue.
The reported incident is just the latest dustup between the Trump Administration and the media since the prior to the inauguration. Trump has repeatedly accused CNN of being fake news, particularly attacking correspondent Jim Acosta at a news conference. He has also publicly called reporters “dishonest people,” and has suggested that the media has even covered up terrorist attacks.
An earlier version of this story appears on JETMag.com.