It was supposed to be a photo-op that showed that the Romney-Ryan team care about those living in poverty.
On Saturday, Paul Ryan and his family stopped by a Ohio soup kitchen to highlight to work of volunteers there and the importance of helping the needy.
But now this flash-in-the-pan stop has incensed the charity’s director at St Vincent De Paul, who says he didn’t know Ryan was coming and wouldn’t have given him permission had he known in advance.
Brian J Antal, the president of the Mahoning County St Vincent De Paul Society, told the Washington Post that Ryan showed up uninvited and scrubbed pots and pans that were already clean, all the while posing for pictures.
“Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted. But I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture,” he told the newspaper.
“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”
He added: “The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”
The biggest qualm Antal has is that he worries that some of his private donors will be polarized by the visit and stop donating money and insists he would have the same concerns over a visit from the Obama team.
“I can’t afford to lose funding from these private individuals,” he said. “If this was the Democrats, I’d have the same exact problem.”
The trip to the St Vincent De Paul soup kitchen came after a town hall meeting at Youngstown State University and lasted 15 minutes.