US POLITICS

Paul Ryan Can’t Do A Photo-Op Without Being Called A Murderer

Paul Ryan visited a charter school in Harlem on Tuesday just after helping to repeal Obamacare last week. It didn't go well

US POLITICS
James King
May 09, 2017 at 6:02 PM ET

In other circumstances, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s visit to a Harlem charter school on Tuesday would have been a routine photo-op. But after successfully leading the charge in the House of Representatives to vote for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act last week, Ryan was met by about 200 protesters calling him a murderer.

Demonstrators, many carrying signs and cardboard tombstones with messages like, “Bought food instead of Meds, couldn’t buy both,” gathered in front of one of the Success Academy Charter Schools hours ahead of Ryan’s planned visit. Ryan was at the school to meet with Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz, who was once thought to be a contender to be President Donald Trump’s education secretary.

Ryan, a strong supporter of charter schools, didn’t get to the school until about 2 p.m., after many of the protesters had dispersed, with most believing he was already inside the building. The ones who remained had nothing nice to say about Ryan.

“These are Paul Ryan’s balls,” one dapper demonstrator, dressed in a business suit and holding a jar with two eggs in it, yelled to the group. “I took them from him in January! Let’s give Paul Ryan his balls back!”

Another protester carried a sign with a picture of Ryan’s face on it and the words, “Troubled Wisconsin man goes on 50-state killing spree.”

Others were less creative, with “fuck Paul Ryan” and “shame” as common refrains among many of the protesters.

Ryan’s arrival surprised many of the demonstrators who were under the impression he had arrived at the school before they assembled. So when Ryan’s motorcade pulled up to the school they weren’t in position to give him the heckling they’d hoped for — the speaker of the House hopped out of a black SUV flanked by Secret Service officers and hurried into the building as a few protesters screamed at him. By the time he left the school at about 3 p.m., the protesters, who had been gathered by the entrance for about an hour, were ready to pounce.

As Ryan emerged from the building, smiling and waving to his hecklers, demonstrators corralled behind a police barrier screamed things like, “Ryan go home!” and “Murderer!” as he hopped in the black SUV and whisked away by Secret Service. By the time Ryan had exited, the protesters who spent more than three hours waiting to give him a piece of their mind saw the speaker’s face for about 10 seconds.