House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the author of the House GOP plan to phase out Medicare, does not like it when constituents publicly challenge him. In fact, people who disagree with Ryan have a habit of getting arrested for it. A few weeks ago, several of Ryan’s unemployed constituents staged a peaceful sit-in at his Kenosha, Wisconsin office to protest his unpopular decision not to hold any free public town halls during the August recess. These constituents didn’t think they should have to pay to ask their elected representative a question. Instead of meeting with them, Ryan’s staff called the police.
So it should come as no surprise that this week, three people who paid to see Ryan speak were arrested and charged with trespassing for protesting the event. One constituent, a 71-year-old retired plumber from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was handcuffed and pushed to the ground by security:
Video footage taken by an attendee at the event shows that one of them, Tom Nielsen, received particularly harsh treatment — he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed. Nielsen received an additional charge of resisting arrest.
Ryan was speaking Tuesday afternoon at the Whitnall Park Rotary Club. Protesters gathered both outside his event and inside, standing up and disrupting the congressman’s remarks.
According to Oak Creek Patch, as many as a dozen protesters were escorted out of the event. Another dozen or so left willingly.
Ryan seemed supremely undisturbed that a senior citizen worried about receiving the Medicare he’s paid into his whole life was treated so brutally. Indeed, Ryan made light of the arrest and quipped to the audience, “I hope he’s taking his blood pressure medication.”
Watch it, courtesy of Wisconsin Jobs Now:
Another woman was shown the door when she challenged Ryan’s claim that the jobs crisis is directly related to the debt crisis. “Our debt is out of control because of the tax cuts you’re giving,” she said. “Our unemployment in 2003 was 6.2% before the tax cuts went through. Now our unemployment rate is 9.1%. What are you doing to create jobs, Congressman?” Another woman was escorted out when she stood up while Ryan was speaking and said, “You won’t talk to us. How can we give our opinions when you refuse to talk to us?”
Ryan has consistently faced angry constituents at his events since his Medicare-killing budget became a top GOP priority. Tired of being publicly embarrassed by constituents who voice their disagreement and say his policies are hurting them, Ryan has resorted to increasingly harsh responses to deal with people who have the audacity to speak up at his events.