Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten the world’s No. 1 menace.
Mr. Pompeo, a possible 2024 presidential contender, said in a recent interview with the global news site Semafor that America must strengthen its education system, and hurting that cause is the teacher’s union head.
“I tell the story often — I get asked, ‘Who’s the most dangerous person in the world? Is it Chairman Kim, is it Xi Jinping?’ The most dangerous person in the world is Randi Weingarten,” Mr. Pompeo said after speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference Friday in Las Vegas.
Asked to pinpoint the top issues for Republicans heading into 2024, Mr. Pompeo said Republicans should focus on conservative tenets of “limited government, expanded set of freedoms, protecting the capacity of people to practice their faith.”
He added, “The very things I spoke about tonight — making sure we don’t teach our kids crap in schools, which we are at the center of doing.”
He then tagged Ms. Weingarten as the top danger.
“It’s not a close call. If you ask, ‘Who’s the most likely to take this republic down?’ It would be the teachers unions, and the filth that they’re teaching our kids, and the fact that they don’t know math and reading or writing,” he said. “These are the things that candidates should speak to in a way that says, ‘Here’s the problem. Here’s a proposal for how to solve it. And if given the opportunity, these are the things I will go work on to try and deliver that outcome that fixes that problem.’”
Ms. Weingarten responded on Twitter with a mix of befuddlement and concern.
“I know that Mike Pompeo is running for president, and frankly I don’t know whether to characterize his characterization of me in the @daveweigel interview as ridiculous or dangerous,” she tweeted.
Mr. Pompeo has been looking to carve out some room in what could prove to be a crowded 2024 GOP presidential race.
As part of it, Mr. Pompeo has zeroed in on the issue of education.
The subject has helped Republicans energize the base of the party — perhaps most notably last year in Virginia when Glenn Youngkin won the gubernatorial election after putting the issue of parental rights in schools front and center.
Mr. Pompeo also has distanced himself from former President Donald Trump in the wake of the 2022 midterm elections after Trump-backed candidates fell in most marquee races.
“We were told we’d get tired of winning. But I’m tired of losing,” Mr. Pompeo said in his Las Vegas speech. “And so are most Republicans.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, took to Twitter to dismiss Mr. Pompeo’s warnings about Ms. Weingarten.
“Let’s be real: @mikepompeo is the biggest grifter the US government has ever known,” Mr. Swalwell tweeted.