White House correspondent April Ryan is facing criticism for saying Melania Trump is “not culturally American.”
Ryan made that remark during a discussion on CNN about the first lady’s new ‘Be Best’ initiative, which aims to address cyberbullying, opioid addiction, and other issues related to children.
“This is a first lady who is not culturally American, but she is learning the ways,” Ryan said.
“These are not just American issues,” Ryan added. “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. And we’ll see if she takes that message abroad.”
Ryan’s remarks prompted a flurry of reactions on social media.
“Perhaps Ms @AprilDRyan can explain what ‘Culturally American’ is since I thought we were a melting pot of cultures,” wrote one tweeter.
“[Melania] is an American as all of us are,” someone else tweeted.
According to Fox News, “The first lady was born in Slovenia but has been an American citizen since 2006 and has lived in the country since 1996.”
Ryan’s comments sparked a tweet by Glenn Beck as well.
“April Ryan -I know when some said that Obama wasn’t fully ‘culturally American’ reporters cried racism. Now that you, a reporter, are saying the same, can they cry racism? Or do you just hate foreigners? Wow, this is easy, I see why the left likes it,” Beck wrote.
Amid criticism, Ryan took to Twitter herself and posted a clarification.
“Culture is not race! If I move to France now and live for 30 years in Paris, I am not culturally French. I am Culturally American,” she tweeted. “Culture is norms, behavior and social construct.”