Half of an eighth grade class in New Jersey refused to participate in photo-op with House Speaker Paul Ryan, as one student called out Ryan to the media for repeatedly putting "his party before his country."
One hundred middle school students, on a field trip to Washington, D.C. from South Orange, New Jersey, refused to be photographed next to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Eighth-grader Matthew Malespina told WABC that he and his fellow students stood aside because "it's not just a picture" but about "being associated with a person who puts his party before his country."
After he found out that his school had arranged for the meeting with Ryan, Malespina texted his mother to tell her he was not going to participate, and she responded, "Say you would rather not."
Despite Ryan keeping Trump at an arm's length during most of the presidential campaign — especially when the tape of Trump bragging and joking about committing sexual assault surfaced — since the election, the two have been joined at the hip.
In particular, Ryan recently gushed about Trump's proposed budget, a frightening blueprint that echoes much of Ryan's work for years, targeted at hurting the poor and vulnerable while handing out rewards in the form of tax cuts and other benefits for the ultra-wealthy.
The Trump-Ryan alliance is a destructive force in American politics, and it is experiencing resistance at all levels – including middle school.