Critics called out American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten on Thursday after she attacked Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis during the GOP debate on Wednesday, claiming he was a “disaster” on education in Florida.
“DeSantis has been a disaster on education. They’re banning history, they’re banning books, banning AP psych, and have a terrible teacher shortage. Nobody should be taking advice form him on schools,” Weingarten posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Critics quickly pushed back on Weingarten’s claim, accusing her of trying to keep schools closed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Weingarten testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic in April to address her union’s role in influencing public policy on school lockdowns.
She alleged that President Biden’s transition team was the first to contact her union for guidance on school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Weingarten has been repeatedly criticized over her stance on school closures throughout the pandemic.
Florida GOP Vice Chairman Evan Power reacted to Weingarten’s claim and said she had been a “disaster for education.”
“She wanted kids locked out of schools and forced to wear masks. The learning losses start and end with her,” he wrote.
“The people who banned *school* don’t get to talk about this,” another wrote in response to Weingarten. The AFT president wrote a forceful letter to her critics in the Wall Street Journal, which published an editorial in 2022 headlined, “Randi Weingarten Flunks the Pandemic.”
“This tweet brought to you by the lady who enthusiastically supported banning…checks notes…school itself,” author and podcast host Mary Katharine Ham wrote.
“She’s still mad she couldn’t force Florida schools to close and she only got to hurt poor kids in blue areas,” Karol Markowicz responded.
Others argued it was a strong endorsement of DeSantis, who during the GOP debate on Wednesday criticized former president Donald Trump’s handling of COVID-19.
DeSantis said he would have fired presidential adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who led the White House COVID-19 pandemic response under the Trump administration.
“Why are we in this mess? Part of it and a major reason is because how this federal government handled COVID-19 by locking down this economy,” DeSantis said at the debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.
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