DeMint compares Chicago teachers to 'thugs'
September 14th, 2012
01:26 PM ET
2 years ago

DeMint compares Chicago teachers to 'thugs'

(CNN) - Sen. Jim DeMint made an apparent joke Friday on the tense labor dispute in Chicago's public school system, using a harsh word to describe those on strike.

"You know, we have had a lot of bad news this week. On my way over, I was reading another story about a distant place where thugs had put 400,000 children out in the streets. And then I realized that was a story about the Chicago teachers strike," DeMint said, prompting laughter from the crowd at the Values Voter Summit, a social-conservative event in Washington, D.C.

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The Chicago public school system is now in its fourth day of negotiations between unions and the city led by Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Class has been canceled this week for some 350,000 students.

This isn't the first time DeMint, a tea party favorite, has used the word to label unions. Last year, the senator blasted the National Labor Relations Board for "acting like a bunch of thugs" in its complaint over the move of a Boeing plant to South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

The word has also been in the news this week as protests erupted in parts of the Arab world by those offended by an anti-Islam online video. U.S. embassies were breached in Egypt and Yemen, and in Libya, four American workers, including the ambassador, were killed in an attack against a consulate.

The word "thug" was used by some pundits and lawmakers to describe those who waged the attacks. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon of California, for example, used the word in a statement on Tuesday.

"Again and again under President Obama, we have met threats and thugs with apologies and concessions," McKeon said.

DeMint's office said the senator was not trying to link the teacher strikes to the events in the Middle East.

"Any attempt to connect the senator's remarks with the terrorist attacks in the Middle East is ridiculous. There is no connection between the two," DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton said in a statement. "The union bosses in Chicago are acting like thugs by using children's education as a bargaining chip. The people attacking our embassies in the Middle East are terrorists."

Following his comment Friday, DeMint took a swipe at the president.

"I have even been trying to think of what would be good about President Obama being re-elected. I had to work on it a long time but I finally came up with something. If he was elected to a second term, he could no longer blame the previous administration for all of his problems," he said.

His comments came the same day the South Carolina senator and Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee–both members of the Senate Foreign Relations committee–announced they would introduce a bill calling for an investigation into the attacks on U.S. missions.

"The attacks on American embassies and diplomats are outrageous. The administration owes the American people detailed answers on how this happened and how it can be prevented in the future," DeMint said in a statement.


Filed under: 2012 • Jim DeMint • South Carolina • Values Voter Summit • Washington D.C.
soundoff (240 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    Well that is the mantra of the rethug party ever since 08. Chicago thugs. Sickening.

    September 14, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. Canuck

    DeMint is a detestable man.

    September 14, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    That is inappropriate. These teachers aren't beating people up or any such thing like that. They want their evaluation based on something that makes sense. There need to be changes but to have it solely based on one standarized test is foolish to say the least. Was DeMint ever a teacher? I'd be surprised if he ever was. He doesn't understand the problems that teachers face from the sound of things.

    September 14, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. v_mag

    Teachers are thugs? You learned all you know from thugs, then Demented. How about women? What do you call them (and remember, your mother is one)?

    How about firefighters and policemen? Are they thugs because you don't like their unions? You're a member of the Rethuglican Party, so you have no room to talk.

    If teachers were really thugs, you're such a weenie that you would never have had the nerve to use the word, since your pants would be full from fear of what they could do to you.

    September 14, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Michael Yeboah

    republicans are the thugs. i am a teacher and a union member and i am offended by the word used to represent us. This man can only win in south Carolina

    September 14, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. just sayin

    union and thug go together like peas and carrots...

    September 14, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    New GOP/Teatrolls 2012 platform:

    Teachers = terrorists.

    Got it. Will we be sending them to Gitmo?

    September 14, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. v_mag

    The GOP is the party of thugs, bullies, and loudmouth idiots. They think they will get respect that way. They think it makes them look strong. They are wimps. They sit in Congress being chicken hawks, never serving in the military, and send other peoples' kids to die for their glory.

    Tear down the GOP! Send the Rethuglican Party criminals to jail.

    September 14, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. "Oust the House", vote a straight Dem ticket in 2012!

    And let it begin with Demented Demint.

    September 14, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. truth hurts

    Teachers aren't thugs. Striking union people that put their own personal self interest over that of their students and of their city are thugs. Did that clarify the matter for you lefties?

    September 14, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Phaque

    DeMented is a disgrace.

    September 14, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. v_mag

    @just sayin said: "union and thug go together like peas and carrots..."
    --
    It was unions that got you a 40 hour week, decent pay, paid vacations, and every other benefit working people have in this country. It was capital that enslaved workers until unions changed that. If they have used force in the past, it was to fight for the worker, and that is no vice. Get your history straight. And thank a union teacher, firefighter or policeman.

    September 14, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. nitro

    What burns me up is idiot like the Senator can issue comments about an issue in a specific city but issues involving the whole US they dont want to speak on. Senator do your job in Washington before you go throwing bricks anywhere else.

    September 14, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. gt

    i dont blame those teachers...heck off for thanksgiving break, christams break , spring break, summer break ,,, work from 8 to 3 ;30 and no wk ends for just pd 72,000 a year..and now the want to see test scores rise too....what wrong with those people....ugh...

    September 14, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. ST

    That was not a nice word to use. Teachers are doing more work than the parents do on children. They should not be rewarded for the work they do by name calling!

    September 14, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. CURIOUS

    Opinions are not values.

    September 14, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. v_mag

    @truth hurts said: "Striking union people that put their own personal self interest over that of their students and of their city are thugs. Did that clarify the matter for you lefties?"
    -–
    Corporations that lay off workers and offshore jobs, putting their own self interest over that of workers and the country are thugs. Did that clarify the matter for you bigoted tightie righties?

    September 14, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    Disgraceful. What an example he sets.

    Please vote a straight democratic ticket this November. Please.

    September 14, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Facts don't Lie

    wonder where the state of South Carolina ranks in education? Maybe they need some of those "thugs" in their classrooms to teach.

    September 14, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    He's a thug. He's projecting his own personal traits onto others.

    Typical southern republican idiot.

    September 14, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    "I have even been trying to think of what would be good about President Obama being re-elected. I had to work on it a long time but I finally came up with something. If he was elected to a second term, he could no longer blame the previous administration for all of his problems," he said.
    ---------------------------
    Senator, Pres. Obama doesn't blame the previous administration, the American People do. Check the polls. Pres. Obama blames the false economic ideology that conservatives like to serve the public. And as long as your party fights tooth and nail to retain the *temporary* Bush Tax Cuts, then The People will continue to blame George W. Bush. He promised that the cuts would be temporary, while his former party has sworn to make them permanent.

    September 14, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    That is inappropriate. These teachers aren't beating people up or any such thing like that. They want their evaluation based on something that makes sense.
    ------
    You know, S.B., I've never been a big fan of standardized tests. Having said that, teachers, like every other occupation, should have some kind of metric(s) upon which they're evaluated. What would your suggestions be?

    September 14, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Publius Novus

    I hope all the teacher-"thugs" in South Carolina read about this. And remember it the next time DeMint comes up for reconfirmation.

    September 14, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Wow , Thugs !

    What dose he call Nuns , ok Thugs ?

    September 14, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    truth hurts wrote:

    Teachers aren't thugs. Striking union people that put their own personal self interest over that of their students and of their city are thugs. Did that clarify the matter for you lefties?
    ----------------–
    This is where conservatism falls flat on its' face, tripping over its' own hypocrisy. Doesn't the conservative message say, "You're on your own."? A rather selfish and immoral tenet if you ask me, but one that is consistent with "people that put their own personal self interest over that of their students." Don't you think? Didn't you realize that you are criticizing the union members for embracing a conservative value, and then taking strong actions based upon that conservative conviction?

    September 14, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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