Rep. Tim Ryan has issued a statement insisting that the presidential candidate wasn’t “protesting” as the national anthem played during Tuesday’s Democratic debate. But the Ohio lawmaker was the only candidate to not place his hand over his heart, choosing instead to keep his hands clasped in front of him — a move that was slammed by Meghan McCain and others.
Put your hand over your heart for the star spangled banner Tim Ryan!!! #DemocraticDebate— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 31, 2019
“Congressman Ryan wasn’t protesting and didn’t mean to make any statement last night in Detroit,” a statement from his campaign clarified. “It was a moment of absentmindedness while on a debate stage that won’t happen again. He was, in fact, singing along with the choir to honor our country. Congressman Ryan loves our country and will continue to honor the flag during the anthem in future events, as he has in countless events in the past.”
Tim Ryan campaign feels the need to issue a statement on the National Anthem issue from last night. pic.twitter.com/e94kvAVgIK— Ben Pershing (@benpershing) July 31, 2019
Though many people commenting on McCain’s tweet criticizing Ryan insisted that only the Pledge of Allegiance requires citizens to place their hand over their heart, the U.S. Flag Code does stipulate the same gesture for the anthem.
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also dinged Ryan over the gaffe, tweeting, “I guess he’s appealing to the Kaepernick wing of the Democratic Party,” a reference to football player Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the anthem in protest of police brutality.
Rep. Tim Ryan didn’t put his hand over his heart during the national anthem. I guess he’s appealing to the Kaepernick wing of the Democratic Party.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 31, 2019
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