Meghan McCain scolds Rep. Tim Ryan for not putting hand over heart during national anthem

Rep. Tim Ryan has issued a statement insisting that the presidential candidate wasn’t “protesting” as the national anthem played during Tuesday’s Democratic debate. But the Ohio lawmaker was the only candidate to not place his hand over his heart, choosing instead to keep his hands clasped in front of him — a move that was slammed by Meghan McCain and others.

Rep. Tim Ryan was the only Democratic candidate to not put a hand over his heart during Tuesday's debate. (Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

“Congressman Ryan wasn’t protesting and didn’t mean to make any statement last night in Detroit,” a statement from his campaign clarified. “It was a moment of absentmindedness while on a debate stage that won’t happen again. He was, in fact, singing along with the choir to honor our country. Congressman Ryan loves our country and will continue to honor the flag during the anthem in future events, as he has in countless events in the past.”

Though many people commenting on McCain’s tweet criticizing Ryan insisted that only the Pledge of Allegiance requires citizens to place their hand over their heart, the U.S. Flag Code does stipulate the same gesture for the anthem.

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also dinged Ryan over the gaffe, tweeting, “I guess he’s appealing to the Kaepernick wing of the Democratic Party,” a reference to football player Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the anthem in protest of police brutality.

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