White House Correspondent April Ryan To Moderate NAACP Presidential Forum

Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan will moderate the NAACP’s Presidential Candidates Forum in Detroit on July 24. At least nine presidential candidates will participate in the forum, which will be held during the 110th National Convention at the COBO Center. “As a media trailblazer, April Ryan is a journalist who continues to create distinguished bodies of work with an extraordinary depth, scope, and significance to people in the Black community,” Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, said in a statement.

“We are honored to have her moderate our Presidential Candidates Forum and look forward to hearing the candidates address some of the most critical issues we face today.”

Ryan garnered headlines in January 2018 when she asked President Donald Trump if he was a racist. The White House correspondent and CNN analyst was referring to the president’s comments about immigrants from “s—hole countries,” The Daily Beast reported. In May, Ryan said the day she asked Trump if he was a racist was emotionally draining . Ryan said she cried with a cameraman after asking the question. “I just fell into his arms…I shouldn’t have to ask a sitting US president because if I wouldn’t have asked that question, no one else would” Ryan said on CNN’s United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. “That was a hard day for me.”

Trump is again being labeled a racist after he told four congresswomen of color they should “go back” to the countries they came from even though three of the congresswomen were born and raised in the United States and all four are American citizens. Several members of Congress have pointed out that Trump has not made the same racist remarks to white members who were born abroad.

The NAACP presidential forum will involve at least eight Democrats and one Republican, the organization confirmed. The NAACP said that additional candidates may be announced before the forum.

The confirmed Democratic presidential candidates include former vice president Joe Biden, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro, former US congressman Beto O’Rourke, and Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Democrats have been working hard to woo Black and Latinx voters, a vital voting bloc, in the upcoming presidential election. The party, which hopes to take back the White House from Republicans, have focused on mobilizing voters of color to register to vote.

Several candidates have participated in forums and events hosted by Black organizations and publications, most recently the 25th Essence Festival in New Orleans. Despite their efforts, a few candidates have been struggling among Black voters.

A new report by Politico revealed that Booker has failed to gain the support of Black voters, particularly in South Carolina. The New Jersey senator has been vocal in discussing race and criminal justice while pointing out he lives in a low-income Black and Brown community.

Tameika Isaac Devine, a Columbia city councilwoman, told Politico that she’s “been impressed” by Booker, but feels he has been hiding behind the shadow of the nation’s first Black president, Barack Obama.

“I think people think that the country’s not gonna elect another Black man,” Devine said. “And so I kinda wonder if there are some people who are not giving [Senator] Booker an opportunity because in their mind they think that another Black male’s not gonna win this soon.”

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has not been confirmed for the NAACP’s forum, has also struggled among Black voters. The Indiana Democrat is polling at 0 percent among Black voters nationwide, a CNN poll revealed. Buttigieg recently introduced a new plan, named “The Douglas Plan,” to dismantle the “racist structures and systems” in the US.

Trump’s primary challenger, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, will also participate in the NAACP Presidential Candidates Forum. On July 18, Weld condemned the racist chant of “send her back” yelled by Trump’s supporters at a recent rally in North Carolina.

“I challenge every Republican to watch [Trump’s] rally last night, complete with chants of ‘Send her back,’ and ask if that is the Party of Lincoln and Reagan we signed up for,” he tweeted. “We are in a fight for the soul of the GOP, and silence is not an option. #AmericaDeservesBetter.” No other Republican has been confirmed for the July 24 forum.


About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.