CNN contributor Scott Jennings went off on American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten to her face late Thursday about her lack of “remorse” over COVID-19 school closures.
Jennings criticized Weingarten for arguing she was an advocate for reopening schools during the COVID pandemic, even though she called for school closures that allegedly caused “emotional damage” to children.
“Speaking on behalf of millions of American parents, I have four [children] at home, I had to teach them at home, my wife had to teach them at home,” Jennings said. “I am stunned by what you have said this week, your claiming to wanting to reopen schools. I think you’ll find that most parents believe you were the tip of the spear of school closures. There are numerous of statements you made over the summer of 2020, scaring people to death about the possibility of reopening schools. And I hear no remorse whatsoever about the generational damage that’s been done to these kids.”
“I have two kids with learning differences. Do you know how hard it is to learn at home and not in a classroom that was designed for them?” he continued. “And for you to sit in front of Congress and the American people and say, ‘oh, I wanted to open them the whole time.’ I am shocked. I am stunned and there are millions of parents who feel the exact same way.”
The union president argued that she and parents understood the importance of both reopening schools and keeping people safe.
“Poll after poll that we did of parents — and I spent a lot of time with parents — said that they basically understood and supported that we needed to do both,” Weingarten said. (RELATED: Teachers Union President Eats Crow After Tweeting Fake List Of ‘Banned’ Books: ‘My Bad’)
Weingarten testified before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Wednesday to address her union’s role in school closures. She had been a leading voice in school closures during the height of the pandemic, telling the public in 2021 that “millions” of children would die if Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reopened schools.
Weingarten revealed at the hearing that President Joe Biden’s transition team reached out to Weingarten’s union to coordinate about school openings. The union also reportedly worked with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address reopening schools, which Weingarten has denied.