Randy Bryce tried to smear House Speaker Paul Ryan on Twitter, attempting to label him as an elitist, but the Wisconsin Democrat’s tweet was widely panned instead.
On Tuesday morning, Bryce — who is challenging Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district — sent out a message inviting supporters to come drink boxed wine, a sharp contrast to Ryan, who he alleges only drinks expensive bottled wine.
There were a few problems with Bryce’s attack.
Ryan won’t be sharing wine with anyone on Tuesday, or for the rest of the week. Bryce failed to note that Ryan just began a week-long bipartisan congressional delegation trip to the Middle East region.
The speaker will be holding strategic meetings with U.S. military personnel and other U.S. congressmen in order to forge a pathway to peace in the region, according to a news release from Ryan’s office.
“The delegation will focus on regional stability, the campaign against ISIS and terrorism, and Iranian aggression. Speaker Ryan is joined by Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-TX, Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, Liz Cheney, R-WY, Stephanie Murphy, D-FL, and Scott Taylor, R-VA,” read the release.
The trip, so far, appears to be a far cry from a day of sipping wine — boxed or bottled.
“The CODEL first made a refueling stop at Morón Air Base in Morón, Spain, where they met with members of the U.S. military and received a mission briefing from the Marine Corps’ Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force — Crisis Response — Africa,” the statement continued.
Bryce’s failure to acknowledge Ryan’s Middle East trip was not the only issue. Readers also noticed The Atlantic article he shared regarding the speaker’s apparent affinity for wine was dated all the way back in 2011.
“Seriously? An article from 2011? Come on, you’ve got better things to go after,” noted Douglas Keane, a reality TV chef who donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campagin, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Keane shared his dislike for Ryan with another left-wing Twitter user, but added that Bryce’s statement was “lazy” and “irrelevant.”
Bryce has received huge amounts of attention from liberals and the media for his campaign to unseat Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st district, with national Democrats believing his working-man image — he is almost never pictured without his construction hat — can win him the election.
However, Bryce has stumbled along the way as the public has learned more about his past.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that Bryce was delinquent on paying his child support obligations for nearly two years. The Democrat was so far behind that the state of Wisconsin placed a lien on his property holdings in September 2015. He paid off his debt only after entering the congressional race.
After that story broke, a local Wisconsin woman came forward with her own personal account of how Bryce stiffed her on a loan years ago. Rhonda Slechta, a woman Bryce dated about 15 years ago, revealed that Bryce refused to pay back the money she lent him years ago.
Slechta, whose last name was Nessler at the time, lent him money in 2002 so he could purchase a used vehicle from a neighbor — she also had no idea that Bryce had been ticketed twice for driving with a revoked license. The two broke up shortly after Slechta gave him a $1,776 loan, but Bryce never paid her back.
“I helped Randy when he was making horrible life choices and, in return, he screwed me over,” Slechta told the Journal Sentinel. “I was — and still am — a single working mother who works hard to pay my mortgage, send my son to school and always pay my bills.”
For years, Bryce avoided Slechta’s requests to pay her back. He defied a court order and even ignored her pleas when she confronted his mother about the debt. However, a funny thing happened when a reporter recently asked Bryce’s campaign about the debt.
Immediately following media coverage of her story, a Democratic Party attorney called Slechta and informed her that a check would be made to pay back the money owed, including interest.
Bryce’s campaign has responded to the stories by doubling down on his working-man image, constantly comparing himself to average Americans who struggle with money in their life.
This is true — but it doesn’t appear to be the case for Bryce.
Court records indicate that Bryce, a longtime ironworker, was making $76,000 annually as recently as a few years ago — a far cry from the average American salary. Bryce has stated that he has stopped working since launching his campaign.
Just last week, the Democrat publicly admitted that his campaign actively reaches out for donations from California and New York over his home state of Wisconsin because “that’s where a lot of money comes in from.”
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