Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) went off on a rant on Monday night about those who oppose having schools reopen in the fall amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which has worsened dramatically in the U.S. over the past several weeks.
During an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Kennedy repeated President Donald Trump’s talking point that claims people who want the schools to remain closed are seeking a “political advantage.”
“They’re using our kids as political pawns, and to them I say unashamedly they can kiss my ass,” the GOP senator said.
“That’s wrong to do that to the kids of America,” he continued. “Not the people in good faith, but those who are just enjoying the chaos because they think it’s going to help them in November.”
Kennedy did not specify whom he accused of keeping the schools closed for political reasons, nor did he provide examples of anyone doing so (neither has Trump).
Trump and his allies have been making an aggressive push in recent days for students to return to the classroom as part of the President’s desperate efforts to reopen the country before the elections this year. After Trump threatened last week to slash funding from schools that refuse to reopen, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow softened the President’s message somewhat, saying on Monday that Trump was “willing to consider” using aid in the government’s next COVID-19 relief package to help states reopen their schools.
However, the administration has offered little to no practical guidance on how local government officials, several of whom have spoken out against reopening schools, ought to implement safety measures to protect students and teachers from infection.
During a CNN interview on Sunday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to explain how exactly the administration plans to assist with the reopening process, asserting only that local officials are “smart people who can figure things out.”
Watch Kennedy below:
Sen. Kennedy says opponents of reopening schools "can kiss my ass." pic.twitter.com/rkoB56Kqyv
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 14, 2020