Home National Pastor: Paul Ryan’s Visit to Harlem School Just a “Photo-Op”

Pastor: Paul Ryan’s Visit to Harlem School Just a “Photo-Op”

Pastor Mike Walrond

A well-known Harlem pastor slammed House Speaker Paul Ryan for visiting a Harlem school as nothing but a “photo-op.”

“Paul Ryan’s appearance in Harlem today is nothing more than a photo op meant to distract us from the GOP’s agenda — which is to promote policies that benefit the wealthy and cut funding, resources and opportunities from the underserved in our communities,” Mike Walrond, senior pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church, told theGrio.com. “As he meets Harlem students today, he should take to heart what will happen to these children if their families lose lifesaving healthcare, and witness the real-world impact of decisions that ripple far beyond the halls of Congress.”

Ryan’s visit to the Success Academy 1 Charter School sparked protests from several action groups, especially health care activists upset over the House’s passage of the American Health Care Act, which would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act.

Walrond, who ran for a U.S. congressional seat in 2014, told theGrio.com that citizens need to know that “the G.O.P. is not committed to policies of malignant neglect when it comes to poor and marginalized communities,” adding “They need to feel trust in the fact that the G.O.P. respects their basic humanity, and will build policies that reflect that respect.”

So far, he says, the Republican leadership in Congress has failed to live up to that trust.

“The truth of the matter is that most political leaders look for photo ops in safe spaces. They rarely look for photo ops in spaces that undermine their political narratives or agendas,” Walrond said.

“Residents ought not focus on photo ops, but instead be visible, vocal and civically engaged. We have to learn the value of making democracy and the democratic process work. We have to force these political leaders to hear our voices, and hold them accountable.”