Trump Doubles Down on Plan to Arm 20 Percent of Teachers

“Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!”

Ting Shen/ZUMA

President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at media coverage of his statement that school shootings could be prevented if large numbers of teachers and coaches were armed. “I never said ‘give teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC,” Trump tweeted. Nevertheless, he quickly reiterated his support for training and arming “the best” 20 percent of teachers to “immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions.”

“If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school,” Trump tweeted. “Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!”

A day earlier, during a listening session with survivors of the Parkland, Florida, massacre, Trump sparked controversy when he proposed a concealed carry program in which “people of talent” who work in the school and are “very adept at handling a gun” would be trained to neutralize school shooters. “So let’s say you had 20 percent of your teaching force, because that’s pretty much the number,” Trump said. He added: “If you had a teacher with—who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.”

In a series of tweets Thursday morning, Trump asserted that media outlets were misreporting his remarks.

Trump’s plan to arm teachers has created an intense backlash. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) slammed it as “abhorrent.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) broke with the president Wednesday evening, saying during a CNN townhall event that he did not support arming teachers. “Imagine in the middle of this crisis,” Rubio said. “The SWAT team comes into the building, and there’s an adult with a weapon in their hands. And the SWAT team doesn’t know who is who, and we have an additional tragedy that was unnecessary.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate