2020 White House Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) on Wednesday denied he intentionally kept his hand off of his heart during the national anthem at Tuesday evening’s second Democrat presidential primary debate in Detriot, Michigan.
“Congressman Ryan wasn’t protesting and didn’t mean to make any statement last night in Detroit, it was a moment of absentmindedness while on a debate stage that won’t happen again,” the Ryan campaign said in a statement.“He was, in fact, singing along with the choir to honor our country. Congressman Ryan loves our country and will continue to honor the flag during the anthem in future events, as he has in countless events in the past,” the statement adds.
NEW: Tim Ryan campaign releases statement after the candidate did not put his hand over his heart during the National Anthem at last night's #DemDebate: “It was a moment of absentmindedness while on a debate stage that won’t happen again." https://t.co/BDE4SE1SIP pic.twitter.com/RE3C4tbbEa
— ABC News (@ABC) July 31, 2019
Following the introduction of the ten candidates, a local choir performed the National Anthem, during which Ryan was the only candidate not to put his hand over their heart during the anthem, which is an American custom.
“No, not really,” the Ohio Democrat told ABC News when asked if he had any thoughts on the stir he caused. “I love this country as much as everybody else”
Of the move by Ryan, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the candidate was “appealing to the Kaepernick wing of the Democratic Party.”
Rep. Tim Ryan didn’t put his hand over his heart during the national anthem. I guess he’s appealing to the Kaepernick wing of the Democratic Party.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 31, 2019