President Donald Trump tried to justify his proposal to arm teachers by claiming that teachers want to carry guns in order to protect their students out of love.
"It’s critical to have armed personnel available at a moment’s notice," Trump said at a roundtable discussion about gun violence in schools. "These are teachers in many cases that are the highest trained that you can get."
Trump said teachers are "natural to firearms" and insisted that arming teachers is "critical to hardening our schools against attack," adding, "also, they love our students."
The president continued:
“I’ve seen the teachers...They truly love their students. And by loving their students, they want to fight for their students more than anybody else."
“I’ve seen the teachers...They truly love their students. And by loving their students, they want to fight for thei… https://t.co/i1He75hxgq— POLITICO (@POLITICO) 1545166244.0
Twitter tore into Trump for suggesting that armed teachers and guns in schools would make for safer learning environments.
@politico He’s wrong.— Tim Andrews (@Tim Andrews) 1545167215.0
@politico If I had kids there's no way in hell I'd want them in a school with randomly armed teachers.— Karen M (@Karen M) 1545166475.0
@politico Only if armed personnel are law enforcement officers. Teachers should not be armed.— Ezra Adams ⚜️⚜️ (@Ezra Adams ⚜️⚜️) 1545166872.0
@politico No, no, a thousand times no!!! More fricking guns is not the answer.— K Owens (@K Owens) 1545166414.0
@politico I truly love my students. That's why I would never want them to have to depend on me to save their lives with a gun.— EllenRosewall (@EllenRosewall) 1545167523.0
@politico Does he mean trained police offices who were carrying weapons at Margory Stoneman? Oh not trained officer… https://t.co/YMXjZV92Cg— KathyK 🌊🚀🗽💙 (@KathyK 🌊🚀🗽💙) 1545170457.0
@politico The first cops on the scene will shoot the first gun carrier he/she sees. Amazingly stupid. More guns equ… https://t.co/NTbpo74sc0— jim waller (@jim waller) 1545170958.0
Many people noted that if Trump really wanted to support teachers, he would demand more funding for educational programs and pay teachers more money.
@politico If you loved teachers, you'd work like hell to increase their pay, strengthen their unions.— "No teams" Indy (@"No teams" Indy) 1545166382.0
@politico Even less money to education!— Drew (@Drew) 1545166722.0
@FreeCitizen33 @politico So true. He couldn't care less about teachers.— Orange Owl (@Orange Owl) 1545166898.0
Trump also suggested that arming teachers would aid in "stopping tragedy before it strikes."
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, seated next to Trump, lauded his response to the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida last February.
"After the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, you took swift action," DeVos said of Trump. "No parent should fear for their child's life in school and no student or teacher should ever have to worry about their safety at school."
The "swift action" DeVos referenced did not happen.
Instead, Trump was assailed by survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for blaming the FBI for not preventing the shooter from obtaining his weapons. Trump exploited the deaths of students as an opportunity to say there was "no collusion" between himself and Russia.
"Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter," Trump tweeted three days after the shooting. "This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!"
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable… https://t.co/yvvTEmad2e— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1518926925.0
Trump's record on the issue is nebulous at best. In 2016, he knocked Hillary Clinton for claiming he was in favor of it.
"Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought into the school classroom," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Wrong!"
Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1463889339.0
The day after posting that tweet, Trump went on Fox News and said arming teachers would sometimes be appropriate.
"I don’t want to have guns in classrooms," Trump said. "Although, in some cases, teachers should have guns in classrooms, frankly. Because teachers are, you know. Things that are going on in our schools are unbelievable. You look at some of our schools, unbelievable what’s going on. But I’m not advocating guns in classrooms. But remember, in some cases, and a lot of people have made this case, teachers should be able to have guns. Trained teachers should be able to have guns in classrooms."
Prior to this, twice in January 2016, Trump boasted about ending "gun free zones" in schools and on military bases.
"I will get rid of gun-free zones in schools, and — you have to — and on military bases," he said on January 7, 2016, at a rally in Vermont. "On my first day, it gets signed, okay, my first day. There’s no more gun-free zones."
Less than three weeks later, Trump told the Outdoor Channel he was "going to get rid of gun-free zones on military bases and I’m also going to do it in schools." He said he planned to "work with the states" or "perhaps override the states if I have to."
It appears his position hasn't changed.