Paul Ryan Berated for 'Tone-Deaf' Father’s Day Message

Ryan celebrated his family in a tweet on Saturday honoring Father’s Day, while kids are parentless at the border

Paul Ryan
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan commemorated Father's Day on Saturday with a tweet about parenthood. The GOP leader shared a video in which he talked about the consequences of being a father.

While his intentions may have been pure, Ryan received a wave of backlash on Twitter for his tactless message. Twitter users scorned Ryan's apathy toward the separation of migrant families along the Mexican border, the result of a new policy from the Trump administration.

The issue had left the GOP scrambling this past week. The Republican National Committee sent out a press release on Friday that attempted to place blame on the Democrats for the inhuman practices that have garnered negative press.

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While Democrats in the Senate have come up with legislation that would quickly bar the separation of families, Republicans have mostly avoided the problem, appearing undeterred by the human rights issue. According to GOP critics on Twitter, Ryan's tweet on Saturday only magnified the callousness Republicans have displayed to the new policy.

For the majority of Trump's presidency, Ryan has been a passive observer to the actions and language of the White House. Earlier this week, for example, Ryan was asked about the status of EPA chief Scott Pruitt. Ryan said he had not "paid that close attention" to the scandals rocking the agency, so he could not comment on Pruitt's future. The Environmental Protection Agency had suffered numerous scandals in recent weeks, as reports indicated Pruitt governs unethically.

During his weekly news conference on Thursday, Ryan did remark that the separation of children from their parents was not ideal.

"We don't want kids to be separated from their parents," he said.

Despite this belief, Ryan defended the White House's policy and tried to portray it as an extension of previous rules as opposed to new policy from the executive branch.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi refuted this assessment, arguing that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department could reverse the "barbaric" policy at the snap of their fingers.

The family separations are the result of a new, zero-tolerance policy from the Justice Department that serves as a deterrence to illegal border crossings through the prosecution of more migrants for illegal entry.

"If you don't want your child separated," Sessions said last month, "then don't bring them across the border illegally. It's not our fault someone does that."

The criminal prosecutions even apply to those seeking asylum, a lack of empathy unseen by previous administrations.

Regardless, it appears that Ryan is ready to enjoy the Father's Day holiday with his family, while hundreds along the southern border are praying and hoping to be reunited with their children.

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_.