Vice President Mike Pence baffled listeners on Wednesday when he spoke about reopening schools in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. Pence addressed the issue in a news conference, implying that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance on school reopening was flexible in some way. He said that the CDC is revising its guidelines after President Donald Trump tweeted about them, complaining that they are "tough [and] expensive."
"The president said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough," Pence said on Wednesday, according to a report by USA Today. "That's the reason why, next week, CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward." At another point in the news conference, Pence reportedly said: "we don't want the guidance from the CDC to be the reason schools don't open up." This rhetoric was suspicious to many Americans, especially given Pence's frequent accusations of being "anti-science."
Pence spoke at the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday following some fiery tweets from the president himself earlier in the day. Trump tweeted his outrage at the CDC's guidelines for reopening schools, even threatening to withhold funding for schools that refused to open this fall.
"They are asking schools to do very impractical things," Trump tweeted. "I will be meeting with them!!!"
When asked for more details on this threat, Pence said that the Trump administration is working on "incentives for states to go forward," apparently giving weight to the president's words. "And as we work with Congress on the next round of state support, we're going to be looking for ways to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back to school," he added.
These comments drew shock and outrage from everyone, from teachers to parents to high school students themselves on social media. Here is a look at how Twitter responded to this commentary on Wednesday.
The politicization of school openings by Trump and Pence is completely unnecessary. I don't know anyone who doesn't want schools to open. People just want to make sure its safe. This doesn't need to be a divisive issue. https://t.co/8IRHkVxXbm— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 8, 2020
Hahahahaha ha... we don’t wNt to follow the actual advice of the Center for Disease Control... they don’t know what they are talking about we do... trust us...— DBM (@Mohawk_Marine) July 8, 2020
Because what does science know? It knew that if we opened up too soon the virus would spread, it has. We knew that opening beaches and partying would spread it, it did. So yes we know that sending kids to school will create another wave. How stupid have we become?— fajitanumerouno (@fajitanumerouno) July 8, 2020
I don’t get it though - all these parents and grandparents vote - so how does this benefit him?— WGH (@whannam) July 8, 2020
And also underlying that message...
We haven't provided schools enough funding for shields, hand sanitizer, HVAC, etc— WestSide 🌊 (@WestSideHere) July 8, 2020
So according to Demoness Betsy DeVos and lying bigot Mike Pence, Coronavirus is too deadly for Paul Manafort to stay in jail, but not too deadly to shove millions of children, faculty and school staff together in schools. Not even hiding that they’re actively trying to kill kids.— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) July 8, 2020
"The best expert I know on this topic is my wife, Karen." - Mike Pence
Karen Pence teaches at a private school.
Is SHE going back to school to teach in the fall?
If so, she should be made to teach in conditions no better than teachers at the poorest schools in the nation.— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) July 8, 2020
Karen Pence teaches art at a Christian school that bans LGBT employees and students. This is Mike Pence telling us all to go f*ck ourselves. https://t.co/E1aLBpS2Fn— Ed Overbeek (@EdOverbeek) July 8, 2020
“Well, the president said today, we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Mr. Pence said -- because with kids you never want to take precautions?!? These people should be in charge of nothing— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) July 8, 2020