As of this writing, the photo has more than 7,000 likes. But it also has more than 8,000 comments, a sign of the criticism House Republicans are now receiving for what the photo reveals: an intern class that is almost exclusively white.
Since the photo went viral, sources from Jimmy Fallon to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman to Teen Vogue have criticized Republicans for the party’s lack of diversity. Political Twitter began fresh debates over race and the GOP, and hashtags like #InternsSoWhite and #GOPSoWhite took off.
But the most direct rebuke came from House Democrats, who posted their own intern selfies to emphasize the party’s relative diversity.
“Leaders have an obligation to open the door to the next generation. Our intern class fits into our Democratic caucus where, like America, a majority of our members are women, minorities and LGBTQ,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) said in a statement.
For the most part, Republicans and conservative media have steered clear of the debate. (A spokeswoman for the House Republican Conference did not respond to a request for comment for this story.) But one online outlet — the Conservative Review — came to the GOP’s defense by calling the media hypocritical.
“After Speaker Paul Ryan posted a selfie from the GOP Convention with Capitol Hill interns to his Instagram account Saturday, the racial bean-counters responded with shock and awe,” site contributor Phil Shiver wrote Monday.
Then he singled out Mashable, which had written about the photo. “Upon further investigation, CR found that Mashable’s staff is predominantly white, as well …
But here’s the point – that’s OKAY and so is Speaker Ryan’s Instagram photo.”
Check out the posts for yourself below. Here’s Ryan’s:
And here are the Democrats’ photos: