April Ryan: 'This Border Wall Thing Is About Controlling the Browning of America'

December 13th, 2018 3:22 PM

During Tuesday’s Erin Burnett OutFront, the eponymous host engaged in a discussion about the feisty Oval Office meeting between President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; specifically focusing on Pelosi describing the border wall as a “manhood issue” for President Trump.

Guest April Ryan basically called President Trump a sexist for his treatment of Pelosi in the Oval Office, in addition to effectively smearing him and all other supporters of a border wall as racists: "This is about the browning of America." 

Reacting to the President’s Oval Office exchange with Pelosi, Ryan claimed that the President “demeaned her and she said ‘do not characterize my strength, as I am in leadership...’ This is along the lines of what the President does with women.”

Ryan made sure to characterize herself as a victim of President Trump’s “misogyny,” saying “I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it.”   Ryan has good company in the media when it comes to calling President Trump a sexist for his behavior in the Oval Office meeting; The New York Times accused the President of “mansplaining” the House Minority Leader.



Burnett proceeded to play a clip of President Trump telling Schumer and Pelosi that he would shut down the government if he did not get wall funding: “If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other…I will shut down the government.” Burnett sarcastically described the President’s wall ultimatum as “so mature,” while former Labor Secretary Robert Reich argued that President Trump called the Oval Office meeting in the first place to distract from the latest developments in the Mueller probe: “Donald Trump loves conflict…because it shoves the stories that he doesn’t want to be on the headlines or on the news off the headlines and off the news…" 


Later, Ryan went on a rant against the President’s much-promised border wall, asserting that “border security is not just about a wall” while concurrently arguing “yes, there’s issues of terrorism. Yes, there’s issues of drug trafficking and some criminals maybe.” While Ryan may have inadvertently outlined the case for a wall, she insisted “it’s not just about a wall,” citing “an issue of visas that are overstayed.” Eventually, Ryan echoed Nancy Pelosi’s characterization of the border wall as “immoral,” arguing that “this border wall thing is about controlling the browning of America.”



Reich, also tried to downplay the need for a wall: “Most Americans understand that Donald Trump created this wall business, he created it even with this crisis of immigration, that’s his invention,” later dismissing the problems with America’s immigration system as a “non-crisis,” in contrast to actual crises such as climate change.


A transcript of the relevant portion of Tuesday’s edition of Erin Burnett OutFront is below. Click “expand” to read more.

Erin Burnett OutFront


07:20 p.m. Eastern

ERIN BURNETT: Stephen Moore is with me now, Informal Adviser to the White House, author of Trumponomics, April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks, author of Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House, and Robert Reich, former U.S. Labor Secretary under President Clinton and author of The Common Good. Okay. All your books are up there. Now, let’s start with the conversation here, Stephen. Okay. That meeting was not…was rather, I don’t know, I guess, unpleasant, maybe not what I would hope to see. What happened behind doors was downright disgusting. But you met with the President after this meeting, his, you know, on camera meeting with Chuck and Nancy, as he calls them. How did he think it went?

STEPHEN MOORE: Well, look, you know, you accurately described that meeting as feisty. That’s for sure. Donald Trump was in a, in a, in a very jubilant mood, actually, after that meeting. I think he likes the idea that he will now be, you know, up against Nancy Pelosi for the next two years. He thinks he will have the upper hand. He can’t understand, Erin, why it is that after two years in office, where, you know, Trump ran on building the wall to secure our border, why it is the only thing Democrats don’t want to spend money on is this wall. I mean, my goodness, if we just…


BURNETT: I keep pointing to the fact that the Republican Congressmen who represent the wall districts do not support the wall. I just think it’s unfair to say this is a Democrat thing. There are a lot of Republicans who think this wall is the dumbest idea they’ve ever heard.

MOORE: Well except, well…but don’t forget they have to…the problem, the reason they can’t get the wall built is because they can’t get 50 votes in the…they need to get 60 votes in the Senate and you even…even if you control the Senate, they don’t, they don’t have enough votes. They have to get Democratic votes and the Democrats have said they’re against building the wall. And it just seems like, why are they…I can’t even understand why they’re against building the wall and enforcing the border and I don’t think Trump can either.

BURNETT: Well, those two things are not…okay, okay. I don’t want to get into a whole wall discussion, I said the same thing with Senator Kennedy.

MOORE: Yeah.

BURNETT: But enforcing the border and building the wall are not the same thing in a lot of people’s minds, including many, many, many, mainstream Republicans. But April, I want to ask you about what Nancy Pelosi then said about the wall behind closed doors, right, this quote. “It’s like a manhood thing for him as if manhood would ever be associated with him. This wall thing.” Okay. That is a pretty nasty thing to say, let’s just say that. And it’s going to make Trump mad.

APRIL RYAN: Of course it’s going to make the President mad but you have to remember what happened in the Oval Office for the world to see. When he demeaned her and she said, “do not characterize my strength as I am in leadership and, you know, received this new job.” This is along the lines of what the President does with women. We’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it, and now Nancy Pelosi had it but she fought back. We saw a little bit of her Baltimore roots. I know she’s San Francisco but we saw a little bit of her Baltimore roots, her political roots come back and she was fighting against President Trump with this. And this…and I’m going to say this to you. This…what we saw today, we saw the trailer of the movie, “Checks and Balances,” that comes out in January; that stars Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer.

BURNETT: So let me play another exchange, Bob Reich. Here it is.


SCHUMER: One thing I think we can agree on is we shouldn’t shut down the government over a dispute and you want to shut it down. You keep talking about it.

TRUMP: I…no, no, no, no. The last time, Chuck, you shut it down…

SCHUMER: No, no, no.

TRUMP: …and then you opened it up very quickly.

SCHUMER: Twenty times. Twenty times.

TRUMP: And I don’t want to do what you did. But, Chuck…

SCHUMER: Twenty times you have called for, “I will shut down the government if I don’t get my wall.” None of us have said…

TRUMP: You want to know something?

SCHUMER: You’ve said it.

TRUMP: Okay, you want to put that on my…

SCHUMER: You said it.

TRUMP: I’ll take it.

SCHUMER: Okay, good.

TRUMP: You know what I’ll say? Yes, if we don’t get what we want, one way or the other…whether it’s through you, through a military, through anything you want to call…I will shut down the government.



BURNETT: Wow. That is just so mature, Bob Reich.

BOB REICH: Well, it’s not particularly mature, but it is conflict. And I think as Steve Moore put it, Donald Trump loves conflict because there is drama in conflict, because it gets the headlines, because it shoves the stories that he doesn’t want to be on the headlines or on the news off the headlines and off the news. He does…you know, Donald Trump was probably all weekend fuming about all of the stories about can a President be indicted, a sitting President, and how close we’re coming to a felon…or felony indictment or impeachment. And so all of a sudden, he’s got his two stars of this reality TV show called the Donald Trump Show, which were going to be Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and they’re right there, and he…and he can get into a shouting match and he knows that that is going to dominate. I mean, that’s going to be the most exciting thing that everybody’s going to be talking about, as we are doing right now.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, but Steve Moore, does he…does he think it’s good? I mean, you just heard what he said there in the back and forth with Schumer. “You know what I’ll say, yes, if we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, I will shut down the government.” All right, now, I think we can all agree that’s a very childish way to put it. It was a sort of a childish exchange on all parts. But is he going to live to regret those words, Steve Moore?

MOORE: Well, look, I don’t think…I think the most important function of our government is to secure our border and to, to make sure that we have a military that ensures our national security. I think it’s reassuring that we have a President who says, look, I’ll go to the mat on those things. I will fight, you know, my political opponents on this to make sure that we do have enough funding for the military and we do have funding for border security.


MOORE: Now, look…

BURNETT: I interject again, just to make the point because I’m not going to let that go. Border security and a wall are not necessarily the same thing. I know your job is to try to conflate it but I just can’t let it go.

MOORE: Except Erin, here’s what…Erin, I promise, every single political rally that Donald Trump had from the day he…

BURNETT: That’s true.

MOORE: …first started running for President, he said, I’m going to build the wall. If he has a…I think we will all have to agree.


RYAN: And Mexico was going to pay for it. Mexico was going to pay for it.

MOORE: If Donald Trump has a mandate for anything, it’s building the wall.

BURNETT: Well, April, is that what this is about, ultimately, for him? That he made the promise so many times that he just…he’s going to say this whether he’s going to shut down the government or not is not the point, Chuck points out, Chuck, 20 times.

RYAN: This President needs a win, this President needs a win, and this…if he gets this wall, this would be a win. But you got to remember, you know, border security is not just about a wall. Really, I mean, there are many people, many critics of this wall issue who say that this is about controlling the browning of America, plain and simple. Yes, there’s issues of terrorism. Yes, there’s issues of…you have issues of drug trafficking and some criminals maybe, but at the same time, it’s not just about a wall. If you really want to talk about fixing the border, deal with other issues like trafficking through those trucks. You have smuggling people over the border. There are other issues other than people just crossing the border; this 2,000-mile stretch. Now…and there’s another issue. You have…when you talk about securing borders, there’s an issue of visas that are overstayed. There’s so many components that go into the issue of securing the border and immigration. This border, this border wall thing is about controlling the browning of America.

BURNETT: Well, it’s also true that the number one way people come into this country illegally is via airports, not the southern border. But Bob Reich, again, I’m not trying to debate the whole wall here. I’m simply trying to say, politically, can the President win this? He’s looking very forceful on his signature rally issue as Steve points out.

REICH: Erin, this is great for fueling and rallying his base but his base is a minority of America. Most Americans understand that Donald Trump created this wall business, he created it, even this crisis of immigration; that’s his invention. There are a lot of crises in the world, I mean climate change for one, but Donald Trump wants to focus on a non-crisis. I mean, we know from…we know from immigration authorities, we know from the border patrol that, in fact, we’ve seen a reduction in illegal immigration since 2012. I mean, Donald Trump created this. I was there in Washington when Newt Gingrich was responsible or felt…the public felt he was responsible for closing down the government and the Republicans really never completely recovered from that. Certainly, Newt Gingrich didn’t. It’s a huge risk for Donald Trump.

BURNETT: Well, as he said, I own it. I’ll take the mantle. We’ll see what happens, if it actually comes to fruition. Thank you all.