Apology Rejected: White House Journalist Dubbed 'Miss Piggy' by Trump Official Says 'It's Not Over'
A veteran White House journalist who was called “Miss Piggy” by a Trump administration official in a now-deleted tweet says the controversy is “not resolved”despite the name-caller’s mea culpa.
“This is serious,” journalist April Ryan tells PEOPLE. “This is not a joke.”
Lynne Patton, a former wedding planner who now heads a regional Housing and Urban Development office overseeing New York and New Jersey — despite having no experience in either housing or government, per The New York Times — set off a firestorm Wednesday in the now-deleted tweet:
“I hear #MissPiggys still on a rampage. Gee, I must have struck a nerve @AprilDRyan! #BankruptBlogger”
Soon after, Patton deleted the tweet and apologized.
“Tonight, I made an inexcusable comment on my personal Twitter account that I deeply regret & deleted on my own volition. I sincerely apologize to @AprilDRyan. I also wish to apologize to my staff at @HUDNY_NJ, @SecretaryCarson & the #Trump family who deserved better leadership.”
Ryan tells PEOPLE she does not know Patton and the issue is far from settled, despite Patton’s apology.
“It’s not resolved, not at all. The things she said were terrible. She didn’t only talk about me, she talked about the company I worked for,” Ryan says. “All lies. It’s not over.”
Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and a political analyst for CNN, tells PEOPLE that she missed an early-morning phone call of apology from HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
“Dr. Carson was very gracious and kind and I accept his apology,” she says.
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The issue began after Ryan appeared on Brian Stelter’s CNN show Sunday night, when she said there has been a war on the press led by Trump and the White House.
“I’ve talked to other reporters,” Ryan said on the show, “we’ve gotten death threats.”
Patton Tweeted in response: “As a conservative black female who has publicly worked for & supported @realDonaldTrump, I’ve been getting death threats from fellow minorities on the left for the past 3 years — so welcome to the club. @AprilDRyan.”
Ryan tells PEOPLE she has gotten death threats via social media, phone calls and emails — made to herself and her company.
“This is not acceptable and I am sorry she is getting death threats, but you don’t dismiss it,” Ryan says. “I never said where the death threats were coming from, this supporter or that supporter. I am not accusing anyone. This is not a joke and I’m tired of it. Period.”
Ryan and Patton exchanged a few tweets before Patton’s Miss Piggy tweet, to which Ryan responded:
“Fake info girl! Check your facts. I work for American Urban Radio Networks not Sheridan! Whose wedding are you planning now and what wig company do you work for?”
“Do you also tape conversations like your girl Omarosa who might have a date with Mueller since she has so much to say.”
“Kick rocks little girl. Find a job! @LynnePatton I ain’t the one! Girl bye. Blogger girl I do news. What do you do? Do you work at HUD or play at it you washed up wedding planner. Girl bye!”
Ryan did not wish to disclose what her next steps are, “but I will say I am in talks with people.”
She adds: “My company and I are having a big conference call later. They are not happy about this, not at all.”