Dem Candidate Attempts a Dig at Paul Ryan; It Does Not Go Well

Randy Bryce / Getty Images
January 23, 2018

Randy Bryce, a Wisconsin Democrat challenging Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), told his supporters to join him Tuesday night to drink boxed wine, in an attempt to contrast Ryan, who Bryce said would rather drink $350 bottles of wine with lobbyists.

Bryce failed to note that on the same day, the House Speaker kicked off a week-long bipartisan Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trip to the Middle East where he will be meeting with officials and U.S. military personnel.

Bryce shared a 2011 article from the Atlantic about Ryan drinking two $350 bottles of wine while dining with a pair of conservative economists at a Capitol Hill restaurant.

"Paul Ryan would rather sip $350 bottles of wine with lobbyists than talk to any of us in #WI01. I’d rather drink boxed wine and listen to my neighbors," Bryce tweeted.

He then told his followers to join him Tuesday night in Janesville, Wis. for a meet and greet event.

Douglas Keane, a reality TV chef and Clinton donor, called Ryan "spineless," but said Bryce's jab was "lazy" and "irrelevant."

Bryce, who admitted last week that his campaign actively reaches out to solicit donations from California and New York over Wisconsin donors, did not mention Ryan's Middle East trip. The bipartisan trip is a far cry from the characterization that Bryce attempted to paint: that Ryan spends his time drinking expensive wine with lobbyists.

"The delegation will focus on regional stability, the campaign against ISIS and terrorism, and Iranian aggression," Ryan's press release said. "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)."

"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 press release continued.

This is the third international CODEL trip that Ryan has led since assuming the speakership.

Bryce did not criticize House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) for treating the Democratic caucus to a fancy dinner at the swanky Italian restaurant, Acqua Al 2, during the government shutdown over the weekend. The Italian establishment offers several private rooms for large groups to dine in for dinner, ranging from $1,600 to $3,000.

Pelosi spent $27,000 at the Italian eatery during the 2014 election cycle, according to a 2015 Politico article.