Washington Gov. Jay Inslee engaged in a televised clash Monday with President Donald Trump over the idea of arming some schoolteachers, telling the president to try “less tweeting” and “more listening.”
The back-and-forth occurred at a White House meeting in which Trump took questions from governors in town for a National Governors Association meeting.
Recognized by Trump, Inslee stood and promoted Washington’s extreme-risk protection order law as a national model. He then launched into a criticism of Trump’s endorsement of encouraging schoolteachers to carry guns as a response to the recent massacre at a Florida high school.
“I know you have suggested arming our teachers, and I just … ” began Inslee.
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Trump stopped him: “No no, no no, not your teachers — arming a small portion that are very gun adept, that truly know how to handle it,” he said, adding that “gun-free zones” are an “invitation for very sick people” to harm kids. Trump said if teachers carry guns “you are not gonna have any problems any more because they’re never going to the school. You’re never gonna have a problem.”
Inslee responded that as a grandfather and governor, “I have listened to the people who would be affected by that. I have listened to the biology teachers and they don’t want to do that at any percentage. I have listened to the first-grade teachers that don’t want to be pistol-packing first-grade teachers. I have listened to law enforcement who have said they don’t want to have to train teachers as law-enforcement agencies, which takes about six months.”
Inslee concluded: “I just suggest we need a little less tweeting here and a little more listening. And let’s just take that off the table and move forward.”
Trump responded that “a lot of states” allow arming of teachers now, and called on a friendlier politician, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who boasted that some schools in his state allow teachers or other school personnel to carry guns, and advertise that fact with signs on campuses.
The exchange captured national buzz Monday morning on social media and in outlets including The Hill and The Washington Post. Inslee, a second-term Democrat, has been mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, though he has downplayed the speculation.