Republican congressman and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan demonstrated what kind of vice president (and, gawd forbid, president) he might be when he saw an opportunity and took it with total disregard for how his actions might cause real injury to caring people and the least of our citizens.
Last weekend, Ryan and his family were on their way to the airport, when he decided to barge into a dining hall run by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The patrons already had eaten and departed. The volunteers had cleared the hall and cleaned most of the dishes. Nevertheless, Ryan, his wife and three young children donned aprons. Moments later, photographers and television cameras captured Ryan standing at the sink, his head bent low as he scrubbed a pot.
When the charity’s president, Brian J. Antal, found out about Ryan’s stunt, he was furious. Ryan and his campaign had “ramrodded” their way into the kitchen, Antal told The Washington Post on Monday.
“We’re a faith-based organization,” he said. “We are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations. It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors. … The photo op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”
Public reaction was ferocious — and much of it has targeted Antal.
When I talked to Antal on Tuesday afternoon, he said he was starting to worry “a little bit” for the safety of his family. A young child wailed in the background as he described the barrage of angry calls he’d been fielding ever since the story broke.
“They keep accusing me of being partisan,” he said. “They say they’re donors who will never give again because of what I said.” None of them would give a name.
Ryan owes an apology, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.