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CNN’s April Ryan Criticized for Saying First Lady Melania Trump Is ‘Not Culturally American’

CNN commentator and American Urban Radio Networks White House Correspondent April Ryan said Monday that the First Lady of the United States is “not culturally American” — a remark that prompted sharp criticism from both inside and outside the White House.

Ryan made the comment Monday night to CNN’s Erin Burnett following the official First Lady Melania Trump‘s anti-cyberbullying campaign, known as “Be Best.” Like many others have pointed out, the focus of the campaign is ironic, given President Donald Trump‘s Twitter habits.

“She’s well aware of her husband’s cyberbullying. He’s considered by some, well many I would say, in different sectors, one of the biggest bullies,” Ryan said Monday night. “He will call you out in a moment’s notice and she [Melania Trump] stood in front of him and basically said she wants to show young people how it’s done and do it right and they will pick up those habits.”

Ryan continued by saying, “This is a first lady who is not culturally American, but she is learning the ways. This is not just an American issue. These are not just American issues. These are international issues. Cyberbullying is an international issue. Social media is international, and also the opioid addiction issue. So it’s not just here, but it’s abroad as well.”

The first lady was born in Slovenia but left the former communist country at a young age to pursue a career as a model in Europe. In 1996, she moved to the United States on a work visa and has lived here ever since, according to Biography.com.

A handful of high-profile, conservative Twitter users took to the social media channel, blasting Ryan for the comment.

Fox News’ Rachel Campos-Duffy, responded on Outnumbered earlier today.

“That is just beyond-the-pale offensive,” Campos-Duffy said, adding that the first lady has been “an amazing ambassador” for the U.S. “Shame on people for not giving her credit.”

Ryan’s comment elicited a further reaction from inside the White House. Steven Cheung, special assistant to the president and White House director of strategic response, tweeted:

A statement from the office of the first lady cited broader criticism to Melania Trump’s rollout, and challenged critical journalists to “be best in their own professions.”

[image via screengrab]

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