Presidential candidate Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanRep. Brown to run for Maryland attorney general Pennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet MORE (D-Ohio) on Wednesday denied that he deliberately kept his hand off his heart during the national anthem at Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate.
“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,” a Ryan campaign spokesperson 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.
He was the only contender on stage to not place his hand over his heart during the anthem.
Ryan also denied he was making a statement speaking after the event last night, telling ABC News, "I love this country as much as everybody else.”
"No, not really," Rep. Tim Ryan says when asked if he has anything to say about causing a stir for being the only candidate for not putting his hand on his heart during the national anthem at #DemDebate.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 30, 2019
"I love this country as much as everybody else" https://t.co/FPoMn84lw9 pic.twitter.com/jbcHLX24hT
The Ohio congressman faced some criticism from conservatives on social media Tuesday evening.
“The View” co-host Meghan McCainMeghan Marguerite McCainMeghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' Trump attacks Meghan McCain and her family McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral MORE noted the moment and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer accused Ryan of “appealing to the Kaepernick wing of the Democratic Party.”
Put your hand over your heart for the star spangled banner Tim Ryan!!! #DemocraticDebate— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 30, 2019
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 30, 2019