Candidate refuses to put hand on heart for national anthem at debate; Beto spins own defiant gesture

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

The first round of the second Democrat presidential primary debates Tuesday evening contained more than just the usual talk of abolishing private health insurance, taxing the Middle Class and legalizing illegal immigration — it also contained a dash of blatant anti-Americanism.

Congressman Tim Ryan, who according to RealClearPolitics is polling at an average of three percent, stood with his hands by his side as the national anthem blared through Detroit’s Fox Theatre prior to the official start of the second debate.

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While this decision garnered some criticism on social media, the criticism was relatively muted (at least compared to how much criticism the other 2020 contenders received for their own deluge of shoddy behavior and dubious ideas).

Why? Likely because few Americans seem to know who Ryan even is, including former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who accidentally mistook him for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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Ryan’s a relative nobody competing in an election chockablock with well-recognized figures like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders; former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg; failed Texas Democrat senatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke; etc.

When asked after the debate about his choice to disrespect the anthem, all Ryan had to say was, “I love this country as much as everybody else. The national anthem plays at football games, I put my hand on my heart for the Pledge of Allegiance. I don’t know, the choir was singing and it was great.”

It’s not clear what him putting his hand on his heart as the national anthem plays during football games has to do with him NOT putting his hand on his heart as the anthem played before the debate.

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The only other 2020 contender to match Ryan’s anti-Americanism was O’Rourke.

“When Democrat Beto O’Rourke takes the stage in the second round of presidential primary debates on Tuesday, three young black men from Michigan who were inspired by ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick to kneel during the national anthem before their high school football games will be in the audience as guests of the former Texas congressman,” Time magazine reported earlier Tuesday.

“O’Rourke, whose defense of NFL players who chose to take a knee to protest police brutality and racism went viral in 2018, learned of the men’s story and found them through ‘general local outreach,’ his campaign said. In a statement to The Associated Press on Monday, O’Rourke said the four ‘have served their community in one of the most American ways possible.'”

One has to wonder whether he feels the same way about Ryan’s stunt …

Ryan, the barely known political figure, has been trying to portray himself as a moderate — one far more to the center than the likes of Sanders and Warren.

“This plan that’s being offered by Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders will tell those Union members who gave away wages in order to get good healthcare that they’re going to lose their healthcare because Washington’s going to come in and tell them they got a better plan,” he said during Tuesday’s debate.

Warren and Sanders seek to implement Medicare-for-All and abolish private healthcare insurance. But while Ryan’s opposition to this plan has been enough for the media to label him a so-called “moderate,” his actions prior to the debate seemed to belie this dubious label.

Despite Ryan’s relative obscurity, his stunt did attract the attention of liberal late-night host Stephen Colbert, who reportedly quipped later that evening that Ryan “keeps his heart in his scrotum.”

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Vivek Saxena

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