GOP vice presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan may have drawn a few chuckles after his somewhat awkward soup kitchen appearance, but what the organization is now facing is no laughing matter.
The organization that operates the soup kitchen said that Ryan's appearance at the facility has caused a major financial backlash with its supporters. Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, said that Ryan's unscheduled stop has prompted many of its donors to withdraw financial support for the faith-based operation.
"It appears to be a substantial amount (and) you can rest assured there has been a substantial backlash...," said Antal.
Antal added that he could not say exactly how much money the facility lost; citing that financial donations are a private matter.
Although the soup kitchen would have been a perfect example of the type of cause the GOP would support, things went sour after the debacle went viral this week. Reports said that Ryan and his entourage “ramrodded their way” into the soup kitchen. To make matters worse, all of the photos taken at the 15-minute photo session were purportedly staged. Apparently most of the staff and patrons had already left the facility. Consequently, all photos of Ryan seemingly hard at work assisting patrons are nothing more than fluff.
“It was the phoniest piece of baloney I’ve ever been associated with. In hindsight, I would have never let him in the door,” remarked Juanita Sherba of Ryan's visit.
And yet again, GOP supporters have reportedly engaged in roughshod behavior by targeting Antal and his soup kitchen with angry phone calls voicing their displeasure over the handling of their candidate's visit. Ryan did not have permission from organization officials to conduct the photo-op.
This incident mirrors another incident where an establishment received backlash concerning a Republican campaign visit. A Denver restaurant owner and his family received similar backlash and even death threats after they refused to host a campaign stop by Mitt Romney.
"I'm a volunteer, I receive zero compensation. Withholding donations is only going to hurt the over 100,000 we serve annually... Honestly, I really don't need any more attention," said Antal. "I really just want this to go away."
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