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.”