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Arizona Republicans Blasted After Calling Teachers 'Educational Terrorists' Holding Kids 'Hostage'

Arizona Republicans Blasted After Calling Teachers 'Educational Terrorists' Holding Kids 'Hostage'
12 NEWS/YouTube; Matt Salmon/YouTube

Republican leaders in the state of Arizona are under fire following comments attacking teachers in the state.

The backlash centers on two Republican politicians in Arizona, gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon and state Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita.

Salmon has vowed publicly to have a "confrontational" relationship with teachers. And in what has to be the most melodramatic rhetoric against educators in American history, Republican state Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita called teachers "educational terrorists" holding kids "hostage." (Seriously Michelle, get a grip.)

See Ugenti-Rita's absurd comments below.

Ugenti-Rita's comments came during a debate over a proposed defunding of public education in her state. She said:
"Alright, so here we are, feeding the beast. More money, more money, in my opinion capitulating to the educational terrorists who have held our kids hostage."

Ugenti-Rita then went on to blame educators for COVID-19-related school closures and claimed that the only reason schools are open now is because of parents like her raising a fuss.

It was an argument as non-sensical as it is melodramatic. In one breath, Ugenti-Rita asserts that teachers are terrorists holding kids hostage and should be defunded, but then angrily insists the schools stay open. Respectfully, Ms Ugenti-Rita, if you're reading, these proposals are mutually exclusive and it sounds like what you want is a daycare center, which is not what schools are.

Anyway. Similarly vile was Salmon's recent comments, in which he called teachers a "scourge on our society" because of--you guessed it! Critical Race Theory.

The backlash against Salmon and Ugenti-Rita's comments is so pronounced that even The Arizona Republic, a publication whose conservative tilt is so long-standing it hadn't endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate in 126 years until 2016, lambasted the politicians.
In an op-ed, Republic columnist EJ Montini took aim at both pols, blaming Ugenti-Rita for Arizona's poor educational system at their feet.
"So teachers are the problem? Has Salmon not been paying attention to what the Arizona Legislature and lawmakers like Ugenti-Rita have done to the state’s public school system over the past several years?"
"As in, wreck it.""
So much so that a recent national survey found that Arizona had the worst public education system in the nation."

Montini went on to lament Salmon, a political fixture in the state for many years, transforming into a conspiracy theorist influenced by unhinged QAnon-devotee and fellow gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, whom former Republican President Donald Trump has endorsed. Salmon wrote:

"Matt Salmon 2.0... seems to have drowned his common sense in the Kari Lake."
"The biggest lesson this new Salmon could learn from studying the original Matt Salmon, his former self, would be that the true 'scourge on our society' is spreading conspiracy theories and demonizing anyone who disagrees with you."

On Twitter, people shared Montini's shock and disgust over Salmon's and Ugenti-Rita's comments.

Arizona consistently ranks at the bottom of all 50 states for public education, with U.S. News and World Report's most recent rankings placing the state at 47th place.