Paul Ryan has been hiding from Wisconsin voters for years.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is afraid to face his own constituents in Wisconsin. So instead, he’s spending the Easter recess doing private events 1,200 miles away.
While Democrats held town halls in their own districts across the country, the Republican leader has planned a busy week in Texas. On Monday, Ryan is holding an employee-only event at Southwest Airlines’ headquarters in Dallas. That event is similar to the tightly controlled corporate photo ops Ryan has held in Wisconsin.
Then on Tuesday, Ryan will hold a “private town hall” in Forth Worth, Texas.
But Ryan has not held a public town hall in his district for more than two and a half years.
According to the Town Hall Project, Ryan “has not held a single, open in-person town hall since we started tracking as of 1/1/2017,” and PolitiFact verified that he hadn’t held one before that since since Oct. 6, 2015.
The closest Ryan has come to facing voters in his district has been at canned events with pre-approved questions, and a CNN event whose audience was selected by the network. Ryan was roundly booed at the CNN town hall when he lied right to a nun’s face.
“There is no such thing as a ‘private’ town hall. Either you’re willing to face the voters of your district or you’re not,” Lauren Hitt, communications director for Ryan’s Democratic challenger Randy Bryce, told Shareblue Media. “And for the last two years, Paul Ryan has refused to hold a town hall in his district. You can’t represent people if you’re not willing to talk to them.”
Voters have been making themselves heard as best they can, marching to Ryan’s hometown and donating $1.50 to Bryce after Ryan bragged about a school secretary’s $1.50 pay increase from the Republican tax scam.
Ryan can hide all he wants, but once voters have had their say in November, Ryan might wish he’d spent more time talking to them.