From The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet
Leave it to Chris Christie to come up with a new way to court voters in his sagging quest to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination: directly suggest violence against teachers, or, to be specific, a teachers union that endorsed Hillary Clinton. (One wonders what he might have said if the union had endorsed him.)
In any case, while he is getting a lot of attention for his bellicose rhetoric, a look at the Republican field shows that he is hardly the only candidate antagonistic toward teachers and their unions — and others have been more damaging to the teaching profession, at least so far.
The New Jersey governor was on CNN on Sunday, where host Jake Tapper asked, “At the national level, who deserves a punch in the face?” (Why would Christie get that question? Because he has made it known he likes to deal with bullies by punching them in the face, an approach that would work well in the Oval Office, no?) According to this story by my Post colleague Lyndsey Layton, Christie did not hesitate with a response: “Oh the national teachers union, who has already endorsed Hillary Clinton 16, 17 months before the election.”
Christie meant the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second largest teachers union, which announced in July its endorsement of Clinton. AFT president Randi Weingarten has long been close with Clinton, and though some AFT members are unhappy with the early endorsement, the move could hardly have been a surprise. She was, naturally, not pleased with Christie, tweeting:
This is just disgusting. The culture of violence and hate aimed at educators is just out of control http://t.co/Fx86WMhAA8
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) August 2, 2015