SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - House Speaker Paul Ryan campaigned on behalf of Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo during a visit to South Florida, Wednesday.
With Election Day just 20 days away, however, Ryan’s support of his fellow Republican was trumped by questions of his party’s presidential candidate.
Walking alongside Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Ryan toured Caribbean Elementary School In Southwest Miami-Dade. He became the first sitting House speaker to ever visit a public Miami-Dade County school.
The Wisconsin lawmaker talked about education and opportunities for young people. “I’m here to learn how, right here, you have made successful education reforms, so you can put young people on the road of upward mobility,” he said.
Throughout the current election cycle, Ryan has been trying to unite his party, but he has faced a rocky road, occasionally in the form of put-downs from his own constituents. “Paul Ryan sucks, Paul Ryan sucks,” chanted the crowd at a recent Donald Trump rally in Wisconsin.
Speaking with a reporter, Trump criticized Ryan’s ability to fulfill his duties. “We’re trying to unite the party, and we have it united, but every once in a while Paul will stand up and say he disagrees with this or that,” he said.
At Curbelo’s campaign office, Ryan declined to talk about Trump, who is facing off against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, at their third and final presidential debate in Las Vegas, Wednesday night.
Ryan told reporters this election should be about serious issues. “Forget about what you see on Twitter and on TV and think about the ideas in this campaign,” he said. “Think about the consequences of this election. Think about the choice we have and the way we want to go in this country.”
Protesters outside Curbelo’s campaign office in Southwest Miami-Dade expressed their disapproval of the congressman by chanting, “Curbelo no! Curbelo no!”
Curbelo, the U.S. representative for Florida’s 26th Congressional District, is running against former Congressman Joe Garcia.
“We are disappointed that despite Paul Ryan’s continued support of Donald Trump, and his opposition to immigration reform, which could save thousands of families. Why do you continue to support Speaker Ryan?” said one demonstrator.
But Curbelo indicated he doesn’t support Clinton or Trump. “My position on the presidential campaign has been the same for a long time, and that does not include supporting either candidate,” he said.
When reporters pushed the issue and asked for specifics, Curbelo walked out of his own press conference. “I answered that question multiple times,” he said before walking away.
Ryan attended a private fundraiser before leaving South Florida.
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