The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) made it clear in a partisan speech on Thursday that the nation’s second-largest teachers union she heads is aligned with the Democrat Party and fully intends to attempt to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
“Our democracy is under assault,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a speech delivered at Together Educating America’s Children [TEACH], the union’s biennial learning conference held in Washington, DC, on Thursday.
“Donald Trump has waged a war on truth and on the press, trampled rights and responsibilities enshrined in the Constitution, scoffed at the rule of law and stoked America’s divisions in order to exploit them. He embraces despots while distancing allies, has put commerce and greed over human rights, and his economic agenda has widened the gap between the rich and the rest of us,” Weinstein said, sounding more like a candidate for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination than the head of a teachers union.
“Our very moral character as a nation is tested when government leaders see immigrants and asylum-seekers not as ‘tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ but depict them as invaders so threatening and worthless that the government’s inhumane treatment of them—denying children adequate food, sleep and hygiene—is somehow deserved,” she added.
“Our national government has become a platform for the promotion of hatred and prejudice, a pulpit for authoritarianism. Our classrooms and schools are not immune to the toxic political and social climate enabled by the president and his accomplices,” Weingarten continued.
The AFT head then outlined the political plan of action for teachers belonging to AFT in the coming 2020 election.
Since March 2018, when the #RedforEd movement launched, both the AFT and the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, have been working hand in hand organizing political events and protests in a number of states, working closely with the more loosely organized #RedforEd activists, many of whom are former Bernie Sanders supporters embedded within teachers unions.
As Breitbart News reported in February:
This teachers union effort, called #RedforEd, has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally. Its stated goals–higher teacher pay and better education conditions–are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.
“Teachers have always had power. We need to own our power,” Weingarten said, echoing the themes sounded at countless #RedforEd events.
“And we need to build our power so we can move our agenda—for our students and our families; for safe, welcoming and well-funded public schools; for affordable higher education; healthcare that is a right, not a privilege; a living wage; a decent retirement; a healthy climate and a strong democracy,” she continued.
Weingarten marveled at how Democrat presidential candidates this election cycle are courting #RedforEd and the national teachers unions.
“Today, presidential candidates are one-upping each other with their support of teachers and public schools. We have changed the narrative about public education and, in so doing, have helped preserve it,” she asserted.
“Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates confirmed the partisan political motivations behind the #RedforEd movement with tweets supporting the South Carolina teacher walkouts throughout the day on Wednesday,” Breitbart News reported in May:
Weingarten then claimed that teachers have evolved into political activists out of necessity:
I am asking you to be clear-eyed about the perilous time we are in, to think deeply and seriously about what you can do to take a stand, and about the implications of doing nothing. We may have chuckled when President Trump revealed that he thinks Frederick Douglass is still alive and that American patriots stormed airports during the Revolutionary War. But we can’t lose sight of Trump’s unconscionable cruelty or forget that his erratic behavior is intended to create chaos and confusion. And we can’t assume that things won’t get worse
Most of us didn’t become educators because we wanted to be political activists. But as educators with a conscience, we can do nothing else. To paraphrase Hillel, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” While I would never ask you to take on all these issues or to go it alone, the fight to safeguard American democracy begins in our classrooms and our schools.
She ended her remarks by speaking of teachers as primarily political activists.
“When this moment in history is written, let it be said that America’s teachers rose to the challenge. That hope won against fear. Aspiration over frustration. And humanity over cruelty. That we defeated demagoguery, and preserved our democracy,” she concluded.