After the latest massacre of school children and teachers, House Speaker Paul Ryan crept into action. Not to meet with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their families, the site of that shooting, but for a fundraising weekend at Key Biscayne, for “the NRCC’s $15,000 PAC donor program, made up of business, trade association and law firm PACs who are vital to the NRCC.” At the first event of the weekend, Ryan demonstrated his concern for the community by having a primary school teacher who confronted him about guns kicked out of his party.
Maria Thorne, a Key Biscayne activist, said she noticed motorcade traffic clogging up her commute home from her job as a fifth grade teacher at iPrep Academy, where she spent the day reassuring scared students that she could keep them safe from a shooter.
Thorne, 49, heard a rumor that the motorcade might belong to Ryan, so she took a friend into the Ritz to investigate. She said men with lanyards at the entrance of a private area confirmed that it was a fundraiser for Ryan. […]
Thorne said she found Ryan in the middle of the room—”I shook his hand and everything,” she said—and introduced herself as a teacher and Key Biscayner.
“Nice,” the Republican congressman replied.
“Nice?” Thorne said. “You’re here celebrating the death of 17 children.”
At that, Thorne said, Ryan told her he “didn’t want to talk politics” or argue. When Thorne tried to continue, security escorted her out. She chanted “No more guns!” on her way out the door, she said.
That’s the Ryan version of leadership. First, he didn’t postpone this event given the tragic week the community just had (he had no trouble postponing the moment of silence on the House floor for the victims—the only thing victims of gun massacres can count on from the Republican congress). Then when confronted with the reality of this teacher’s fear and grief, he has her kicked out.
Is it any wonder the only reaction we get from this Congress in response to mass shootings is weakening the very few protections we have?
It’s time to end the cowardly Ryan “leadership.”