Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told President Donald Trump on Monday that “we need a little less tweeting here and a little more listening” on the subject of arming teachers to deter school shootings.
Inslee, a Democrat, made the remark during a listening session with roughly 40 governors at the White House. The event is one of several the White House has hosted in the wake of the latest school massacre in Parkland, Florida, amid a nationwide discussion on how to stem gun violence in schools.
Inslee spoke passionately about his conversations with teachers and their thoughts, and pleaded with Trump to take his proposal to arm teachers off the table.
“I just suggest we need a little less tweeting here and a little more listening and let’s just take (arming teachers) off the table and move forward,” Inslee said.
Trump pushed back at first, telling Inslee that his proposal would only arm a percentage of teachers, but not all, to which Inslee responded that he’d heard from teachers who don’t want to carry firearms.
“Whatever percentage it is, speaking as a grandfather, speaking as a governor of the state of Washington, 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,” the Democratic governor said. “I have listened to the first-grade teachers who 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 pleaded with Trump that lawmakers should listen to educators rather than urging teachers to “pack heat.”
Trump did not react to the harsh words, but listened with his arms crossed before moving on to a question from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.
Trump has suggested arming some teachers as a precaution against school shootings, calling it a “great deterrent.” Over the weekend, he suggested the proposal could be decided by states. He also has pushed for an end to bump-fire stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at a rapid rate, as well as comprehensive background checks to emphasize mental health.