Friday, 02 Dec 2022

Teachers union head accuses Pompeo of stoking hate with filth comments

Teachers union head accuses Pompeo of stoking hate with filth comments


Teachers union head accuses Pompeo of stoking hate with filth comments

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), has denounced the former secretary of state Mike Pompeo for calling her "the most dangerous person in the world" and asserting that the nation's schoolteachers teach "filth".

Speaking to the Guardian Weingarten said Pompeo's remarks were not just demagogic, but also dangerous, warning that they could incite violence. She said Pompeo, who also served as Donald Trump's CIA director, attacked her because she is "Jewish, gay, teacher and union" and was clearly stoking rightwing hate as he considers a presidential run.

"This is initially directed to the Republican donor class so he can tap into the boatloads of money that billionaires have given to wage this culture war," Weingarten said, adding that Pompeo - widely expected to run for president in 2024 - was "trying to garner money from that donor base that gave $50m for anti-trans ads, during the recent election".

"Separate and apart from that," she continued, "it's also an attempt to pull away the Maga Republican base from Trump and [the Florida governor, Ron] DeSantis, to show he's an even more extremist Maga than they are."

In an interview with Semafor this week, Pompeo said: "I get asked, 'Who's the most dangerous person in the world? Is it Chairman Kim, is it Xi Jinping?' The most dangerous person in the world is Randi Weingarten. It's not a close call. If you ask, 'Who's the most likely to take this republic down?' It would be the teachers' unions, and the filth that they're teaching our kids, and the fact that they don't know math and reading or writing."

Weingarten, who has been president of the AFT since 2008, told the Guardian she thought Pompeo was attacking her because she is "Jewish, gay, teacher and union".

"It's all of the above," Weingarten said. "It's an anti-public school strategy. The antisemitic tropes are there. The anti-gay tropes are there. It's anti-union. It's anti-teacher. It's all of the above. But the effect is it really hurts what teachers are trying to do to help kids every single day."

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