American Federation of Teachers (ATF) president Randi Weingarten responded angrily to Mike Pompeo’s claim that she is the “most dangerous person in the world,” saying Wednesday that he’s “hurting kids.”
“What he’s doing is making it harder for teachers all across America to teach kids. To bring parents and teachers together. That’s what is pathetic about what he’s doing. He knows better. He’s a West Point boy. He knows better, but he’s doing this to try to win a Republican primary, and he’s hurting kids, and the effort of teachers to bring the country back together,” Weingarten told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Weingarten said that Pompeo, who served as Secretary of State in the Trump administration, was “running for president” and he had “all the extremist talking points down.”
She was also bothered by his use of the word “filth.”
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“In all seriousness, this is what really bothers me about what he did. The word ‘filth.’ He called what educators do in schools all across America filthy. The people who every single day get up, they never get paid enough for what they do. They have been dealing with all the anxieties and the aftershocks and aftereffects of Covid for children, including the mental health crises. They’ve been teaching kids to read for years,” she said.
Pompeo said in a recent interview with Semafor that Weingarten was the “most dangerous person in the world.”
“It’s not a close call. If you ask, ‘Who’s the most likely to take this republic down?’ It would be the teacher’s unions, and the filth that they’re teaching our kids, and the fact that they don’t know math and reading or writing,” he said.
After former President Trump announced he would again seek the White House in 2024, Pompeo told Fox News that the announcement would have no effect on his own decision.
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She also reacted to Pompeo’s comments on Twitter on Monday.
“I know that Mike Pompeo is running for president, and frankly I don’t know whether to characterize his characterization of me in the @daveweigel interview as ridiculous or dangerous,” she wrote.
Weingarten has come under fierce criticism over the past two years as one of the faces of teachers union resistance to schools reopening. So-called pandemic “learning loss” from prolonged school closings has set students back dramatically in math, reading and mental health across the country .
Weingarten recently wrote on Twitter that she agreed with the premise of “pandemic amnesty,” responding to an article written in the Atlantic by Emily Oster calling for forgiveness of experts and government leaders who championed ruinous lockdowns.
“We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID,” the article said.
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Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, R., called out Weingarten’s response and said it’s not something people should forget.
“She was one of the major proponents of closing our schools. And unfortunately, most of these Democrat governors listened to her and did exactly that,” Sears said. “Now they’re saying, oh, you know, just forget about it. No, the problems are existing where our children did not learn.”