A bunch of New Jersey eighth-graders apparently found a photo-op with House Speaker just too toxic to participate in, the New York Post reports.
About 100 of the 200 students from South Orange Middle School eschewed their chance to stand with Ryan during a class trip to Washington, D.C. last Thursday.
The photo was planned in advance, with students being informed the night before that they could have their picture taken with the speaker.
At least one of the students consulted with his mom about the desirability of being seen with a prominent Republican associated with President Donald Trump.
Matthew Malespina was one of the students who deliberately walked across the street in order to register their disapproval of the Wisconsin congressman.
“I was like, ‘Oh God, I’m not taking a picture with this man.’ I first texted my mom because my mom hates Paul Ryan as well,” he told the New York Post on Sunday. “And I was saying to her, ‘Oh God, I can’t do this. I can’t take a picture with him.’ She said that was completely fine, just be respectful.”
Malespina, who keeps his finger on his school’s political pulse, indicated his surprise that Ryan was able to stimulate any enthusiasm in the students because the boy says very few of his peers at the “liberal” school have much time for Trump.
“Our school is pretty liberal. I only know three Trump supporters in our grade and there’s a lot people in our grade. So it’s fairly liberal. [Teachers] knew that a lot of people didn’t like Paul Ryan,” he said. “But they gave us the option. I was shocked by the number of people who wanted to join me and my friends to not take a picture of him. It was like half the grade.”
His mom, Elissa Malespina, said she’s proud of her son for giving Ryan the thumbs-down.
“I’m proud of him that he chose to not do that and I proud he did so in a respectful manner,” she told the Post. “Yes, he [Ryan] is the third most powerful person in the nation, technically, but I don’t agree with his stance on a lot of things and neither does my child.”
For his part, Ryan shrugged off the rejection and posted on a Instagram a picture of himself and the courageous students who bucked their liberal peers: “Got that #FridayFeeling.”