Leadership

Paul Ryan shunned by dozens of middle schoolers during photo op

A group of New Jersey eighth-grade students schooled House Speaker Paul Ryan over his unwillingness to critique President Trump.

About half ​of the more than 200​ students from South Orange Middle School refused to pose for a photo with Ryan during a school trip to Washington, D.C., last Thursday.

Matthew Malespina, 13, who waited ​across the street ​with other classmates​ declining to be in the picture with the Wisconsin Republican​, said the school informed them the night before of the photo op on the Capitol steps.

“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,” Matthew told the Post​ on Sunday.​ “And I was saying to her, Oh ​G​od, I can’t do this. I can’t take a picture with him.’ She said that was completely fine, just be respectful.”

Being in the photo wasn’t mandatory, Matthew said, ​so he was surprised by the number of students who agreed to turn out because of the lack of support among ​the ​students 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 standing up for his ​principles.

“I 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.”

Click for more from the New York Post.