Paul Ryan has been criticized for staging an impromptu photo op at a volunteer soup kitchen without doing any actual work.
- (Photo: Reuters/Jose Luis Magana)
Paul Ryan and his campaign team, which included his wife and kids, decided to make a stop at the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society on Monday, following a town hall at Youngstown State University. During the stop, Ryan's team took photographs of the vice presidential candidate washing dishes and "lending a helping hand."
But according to Brian J. Antal, president of the soup kitchen, Ryan didn't actually do any work.
"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," Antal said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Antal stated that the food had already been served and the kitchen cleaned before Ryan arrived at the facility. According to Antal, the Ryan family came in without his permission, threw on aprons, and washed dishes that did not appear dirty.
"We're a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations," Antal told The Post Monday afternoon. "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."
An aide on site acknowledged that many of the volunteers had already gone home, although some had been more than willing to wait for Paul Ryan to appear.
According to Ohio communications director Chris Maloney, Ryan's intent was to bring attention to the cause.
"Our campaign and Congressman Ryan were pleased to bring attention to the meaningful charitable contributions the St. Vincent De Paul Society makes to people in need," Maloney told The Post.