House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' aggressive push to fully reopen schools this fall is "malfeasance and dereliction of duty," accusing the Trump administration of "messing with the health of our children."
Why it matters: Trump has demanded that schools reopen as part of his efforts to juice the economy by allowing parents to return to work, despite caution from health officials that little is known about how the virus impacts children.
- Even with the coronavirus outbreak spiraling out of control in several states, Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that choose not to reopen and claimed Democrats want to keep schools closed past November for political reasons.
- DeVos said on CNN prior to Pelosi's interview that CDC guidelines for reopening schools are "flexible," and stressed that "kids cannot afford to not continue learning."
What Pelosi is saying: "The president and his administration are messing with the health of our children. We all want our children to go back to school. Teachers do, parents do and children do. But they must go back safely."
- "And when we hear what the administration is saying, we know they have no appreciation for the failure that has brought us to this point. Going back to school presents the biggest risk for the spread of the coronavirus. They ignore science and they ignore governance in order to make this happen."
- "If there are CDC guidelines, they should be requirements. But most importantly, and I hope the Republicans will join us, we have to call upon the president to implement the Defense Protection Act so that we can have the PPE, the personal protective equipment, as well as the testing equipment and equipment to evaluate the tests."