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.”

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.