Yesterday, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), testified in front of Congress on COVID-19 school closures. C-SPAN explains that Ms. Weingarten:
…testified on what influence her organization had on school closures during the pandemic, before a House subcommittee. Ms. Weingarten testified that the AFT's goal "was to have clear guidance" from scientists in order for schools to safely reopen. When asked by Republicans about AFT's communications with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), she said the AFT met with the CDC on January 29, 2021, to review best practices for reopening schools, and the CDC incorporated the AFT's suggestion about providing reasonable accommodations for immunocompromised individuals. Moreover, Democratic representatives came to Ms. Weingarten's defense, saying the CDC consulted with more than 50 organizations about the issue–not just the AFT–and 95% of schools were reopened by the end of May 2021, up from about 50% in January.
During the hearings, Representative Robert Garcia, who represents California's 42nd Congressional District (which includes Long Beach and Southeast LA), is President of the Democratic Freshman Class, and who "is proud to serve as the first openly LGBTQ foreign-born member of Congress," objected to a particularly foul line of questioning from Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene. He tweeted a video of the exchange, with the text, "When Marjorie Taylor Greene says that adopted or parents through marriage aren't real parents, you'll be damn sure I'll object." I transcribed the exchange so you don't have to listen to Marjorie Taylor Greene:
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene: Are you a mother?
Randi Weingarten: I am a mother by marriage.
MTG: By marriage, I see.
RW: And my wife is here with me, and I'm really glad that she's here.
MTG: Ms. Weingarten, I'm reclaiming my time, I didn't ask you a question. What I'd like to talk about is your recommendations to the CDC as not a medical doctor, not a biological mother, and, really, not a teacher either. You had no business advising the CDC what the medical guidelines were for school closures. Because now we have a nation of school children who have suffered because of it. The problem is, people like you need to admit that you're just a political activist—not a teacher, not a mother, and not a medical doctor.
Representative Robert Garcia: I just want to make the note that the decorum of the attacks on the witness were unacceptable that the gentlelady from Georgia just did. It would be nice if we didn't attack the witnesses, particularly making a decision about whether or not she's a mother. You ARE a mother, thank you for being a great parent, thank you.