Paul Ryan’s massive misstep just humiliated Republicans angry over Sanders’ restaurant ejection

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Amid all the self-righteous clucking from the Trump hen house and the holier than thou Republicans over the Red Hen restaurant refusing to serve Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders comes a tweet from political scientist and author Amy Fried.

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Fried recalls what happened during the 2012 presidential election when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, then running for Vice President under Mitt Romney, celebrated a baker who told Vice President Joe Biden that he wasn’t welcome in his Virginia establishment because of his and President Obama’s political views.

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At that time, Ryan was all to happy to have Republicans celebrate that. 

At a campaign rally in Roanoak, Virginia, Ryan was on the dais grinning as he was introduced by Chris McMurray, owner of the Crumb and Get it Cookie Company.

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McMurray had twisted the meaning of a statement President Obama had made referring to government investment in infrastructure.

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In a campaign rally in the same city, Obama had said “you didn’t build it” in reference to government investment in infrastructure.

Republicans quickly twisted it so the impression was that Obama was telling small business people, “You didn’t build it.”

So when McMurray got a call from the Obama-Biden campaign about having the vice president visit his business, he refused the request.

“The story,” reported the New York Times in its coverage of Ryan’s 2012 rally, “vaulted from local news to the Druge Report and conservative blogs, and voila, Mr. McMurray became the latest small-business owner spotlights by the Romney-Ryan campaign in a monthlong hammering of Mr. Obama for supposed anti-business attitudes and politics.”

So there was McMurray to introduce Ryan. “We are gathered here today,” said the baker, “to send a message to the Obama-Biden team that we did build it.”

Ryan undoubtedly knew the truth but gleefully engaged him regardless.

First, he thanked McMurray for his spirited introduction.

“He just gave my speech for me,” said Ryan. “I’m voting for that guy, for Chris.”

Then in his own remarks, Ryan doubled down on the twisted message. 

“He did say if you have a small business,” said Ryan with a straight face, “you did not build that, someone else did.”

Then Ryan led the crowd in a chant, “We built it! We built it!”

It was good practice for 2016 when Republicans again twisted the truth and Ryan joined with Trump to chant, “Lock her up!”

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At the time Ryan was in his fourth day campaigning in Virginia because Romney had given him another message when announcing his VP pick: “You deliver Virginia, you save the American idea.”

Obama had won Virginia in 2008.

Despite Ryan’s practiced lies and the false messaging, Obama went on to win Virginia again in 2012 with just over 51 percent of the vote.

Now, of course, all that is ancient history for Trump and the Republican mob who want to be able to give trillions to the rich, cut programs for the poor, underfund schools, take health care away from millions and treat undocumented immigrants like, as Trump calls them, “animals,” but not have any repercussions – in a restaurant or a bakery. 

Luckily, Trump is not yet king and America is still a democracy where the rule of constitutionally mandated law remains intact, so just as Trump’s Supreme Court can allow a baker to refuse service to a gay couple, this Virginia restaurant owner is within his rights to send Trump’s mouthpiece elsewhere to fill her pie hole.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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