MSNBC Guest April Ryan: Steve King Is ‘Stunted Mentally,’ Doesn't Understand Racist U.S. History

Two days after a tense exchange on MSNBC involving race and American history, American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan returned to the network’s set on Wednesday night to declare her opponent from Monday in Republican Congressman Steve King (Iowa) is “stunted mentally to be honest with you.”

Ryan went on for nearly two minutes uninterrupted in a lecture that included her belief that King is mentally handicapped (in a disappointing but not surprising departure from civility): “But let me go back to what Steve King said last — this — a couple days ago. Steve King, I think he’s got — he’s stunted mentally, to be honest with you and that’s as nice as I can be.”

She explained that King “does not understand” U.S. history of how present-day African-Americans “are the descendants of the strongest who survived the Middle Passage” with wealth in this country having been “built on the back of slaves” via “forced free labor.”

The rest of her commentary to Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold (Tex.) (who somehow was accosted even though he disagreed with what King said here) alluded to famous African-Americans ranging from Charles Drew to George Washington Carver to Garrett Morgan.

“So maybe he needs to learn a little of history. So, you know, I just don't know what history book he is reading from,” she concluded before snapping at Farenthold when he simply told her that he knew of these famous Americans from his schooling. 

Before this, Ryan pointed out that the Republican National Committee has been “trying to reach out to minority America” but have been stymied by the behavior of Donald Trump but at the end of the day, the Republican Party “see[s] color but it’s how the color to come into — to the room, so I guess.”

New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor soon interjected an argument about America always having been and will remain a racist society where African-Americans are treated differently (i.e. worse) in every facet of American life:

At the end of the day, America is not color blind yet. We are not post-racial. The idea of post-racial has been completely and utterly taken away from the — the idea is just not a thing. I think — but let me finish really quickly and I think African-Americans and the DOJ over and over again has said that police see color, judges see color, doctors see color. African-Americans are treated differently in this country and they have been since the beginning of time, so I think that you really need to when you talk about the party being color blind, that is already off-putting to some people.

The relevant portions of the transcript from the 6:00 p.m. Eastern hour of MSNBC’s Republican National Convention coverage on July 20 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016
July 20, 2016
6:50 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: What do you think about this idea of the color — color blind — the Republican Party as a color blind party? 

APRIL RYAN: What do I think about it? Well, from my reporting, the RNC, Reince Priebus, and Sean Spicer know this for sure. They're reaching out. They’re trying to reach out to minority America and at the same time as Donald Trump is talking about building walls and preventing some groups from coming into the country and also pointing out that’s my African-American over there. So there is definitely a problem when it comes to the RNC and race. Are they a color blind party? They see color but it’s how the color to come into — to the room, so I guess.

(....)

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: You talk about the idea of the Republican Party being a color blind party. At the end of the day, America is not color blind yet. We are not post-racial. The idea of post-racial has been completely and utterly taken away from the — the idea is just not a thing. I think — but let me finish really quickly and I think African-Americans and the DOJ over and over again has said that police see color, judges see color, doctors see color. African-Americans are treated differently in this country and they have been since the beginning of time, so I think that you really need to when you talk about the party being color blind, that is already off-putting to some people. I think you can say they want everybody of the same color to be treated equally but that's been being color blind. That's saying that you see color and realize, that even though they're different colors, that they need people to be treated the same. 

(....)

RYAN: But let me go back to what Steve King said last — this — a couple days ago. Steve King, I think he’s got — he’s stunted mentally, to be honest with you and that’s as nice as I can be and when I say that, he does not understand the history. African-Americans, we are — we are the descendant of the strongest who survived the Middle Passage, okay? Wealth, at that time, was built on the back of slaves. Free labor. Forced free labor. So that piece, we contributed to this country. Asians contributed to this country, but when you talk about other things, there’s innovation, there’s entrepreneurship. Charles Drew, the current blood transfusion system, an African-American man helped bring us that new system. We have also George Washington Carver we are different uses of the peanut. I mean, my mother used to tell me with this when I was a kid. Maybe he needed to grow up in my household. Then we had — then we had Garrett Morgan who also, many of us are walking around with gas masks today, thank you, Garrett Morgan, today here at the RNC convention, so Garrett Morgan did that. The traffic light that we sit and wait and have road rage for, thank you, Garrett Morgan. So maybe he needs to learn a little of history. So, you know, I just don't know what history book he is reading from. 

FARENTHOLD: America is the land of opportunity for everybody. You get there with your —

RYAN: How do you speak that instead of the division that's going on right now? 

ALCINDOR: But the fact is the fact that she has to go and list all the things that African-Americans have done, to me, is already part of the problem. If we were a color blind society, she wouldn't have to be defending the fact that African-Americans contribute to America. It should be a fact already. African-Americans history —

FARENTHOLD: I learned that in high school. 

RYAN: No you didn’t. If you did, tell us more then.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Convention Watch Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Events 2016 Republican Convention Media Bias Debate Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racial Preferences Racism MSNBC Other MSNBC Video Government & Press Rep. Steve King RNC Steve King April Ryan Blake Farenthold
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