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. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    I have been a teacher-grading papers until midnight and week-ends-working over spring break on school committees, and at the end of the year feeling like I was recovering from a serious illness.You have no clue-I spent my own money on supplies and received no help from school board or administration-thank goodness I am in the business world where all my meetings are on company time not mine, and I am appreciated, rewarded, and valued

    September 14, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. ghtbad

    "thugs"......yep, that about sums it up.

    September 14, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. dbf

    Just like you can't hold all dems responsible for someone like Anthony Weiner, we can't hold all repubs responsible for Demint. There are good people on both sides, voting dem or repub down the line is just stupid!

    September 14, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. truth hurts

    Rudy NYC
    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.
    ================================================================================================

    December 17, 2010. Obama in the Whitehouse, Democrats CONTROL BOTH the House and Senate:

    Headline: Obama Signs Bill To Extend Bush Tax Cuts

    "We are here with some good news for the American people this holiday season," Mr. Obama said.

    Come again Rudy???? Your're talking about the OBAMA TAX CUTS now!!

    September 14, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. NOTADEMOCRAT

    Chicago teachers are terrorizing their students parents. What are they suppose to do? Stay home.., unpaid??
    Not to mention the dismal life sytle their students are doomed to after being taught by these very same teachers.

    September 14, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Keith

    thugs = congress

    September 14, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. v_mag

    Rudy NYC makes a good point, and I'd like to extend it a bit. Rethugs are all about "rugged individualism". That works out fine for them, since the rich and corporations can pick off individuals easily, like so many jackrabbits. However, if those individuals band together for the common good, Rethugs don't like that at all. When they have power, people become "thugs" to the Rethugs.

    On the other side, they don't mind at all when rich people and corporations get together to consolidate power. Then Rethugs think it's "good business" and those people are "job creators" and "entrepreneurs". People who actually work for a living have a different set of descriptors: robber barons, monopolists, cutthroats, outsourcers, and vulture capitalists, to name a few.

    September 14, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Scott

    When you back the mafia (unions) you ARE a thug. Oh, and the little thug loving libs that are getting their skivvies all wadded up, don't you remember the "Hug A Thug" booth that the mafia (unions) set up outside of the democrat convention? ;)

    Scott

    September 14, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. PaulCat

    Name calling is the way of the GOP. Some people are so stupid.

    September 14, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. JK Wisconsin

    I love how the GOP mantra now is "Teachers don't care about their kids", when at the same time they are the ones pushing to completely gut public education and take those billions of dollars and give it to their masters at the top. Hypocrites.

    September 14, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Boo

    Figures...another conservative moron with "foot in mouth" disease.

    September 14, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. BD70

    Obama sure can blame the previous administration if re-elected. He ca blame Reagan policies. Those policies don't go away over night. Not even in four years. Maybe not even in 8.

    September 14, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. He has it wrong ...

    I think it is funny that the students not being in school and instead on the streets creates a public risk that has forced the Chicago police out in full force and forced the superintendent to make numerous public announcements to let those civilized people left in Chicago iknow what they are doing to prevent these kids from destroying the city. The politicians openly acknowledge this. Yet, they expect the teachers to be locked up in a room with these kids all day. I think the teachers should also be asking for hazard pay. It also sounds to me that the teachers aren’t the “thugs”. More like the students and parents they deal with.

    September 14, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Scott

    When you back the mafia (unions) you ARE a thûg. Oh, and the little thug loving libs that are getting their skіvvіеs all wadded up, don't you remember the "Hug A Thûg" booth that the mafia (unions) set up outside of the democrat convention? ;)

    Scott

    September 14, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. vj

    Senator DeMint is a thug in a three-piece-suit

    September 14, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. kathleenvs

    "Gone" you need to go look for your brain. Union Protestors? Where'd you hear that. Rush? Fox? Seriously?

    September 14, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. Scott

    When you back the mаfіа (unions) you ARE a thûg. Oh, and the little thûg loving libs that are getting their skіvvіеs all wadded up, don't you remember the "Hug A Thûg" booth that the mаfіа (unions) set up outside of the democrat convention? ;)

    Scott

    September 14, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. DE

    The stagnation of American workers pay is directly mirrored to the demise of unions. Communists hate unions, the Nazis hated unions, the republibigots hate unions, connect the dots.

    September 14, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. allens

    if it was anyone else but demint, i would be really upset.

    September 14, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Scott

    So what is the issue. They ARE!

    Scott

    September 14, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. BravesGal

    I'm pretty sure he was speaking of the teacher's union and just the teachers. But surely that's not how CNN is going to spin it. Lemmings.

    September 14, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. barbra k

    Strange! I look at the Congressmen and Senators as thugs. Not the hard working teachers.

    September 14, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Scott

    When you back the mаfіа (unions) you ARE a thûg. Oh, and the little thûg loving libs that are getting their skіvvіеs all wadded up, don't you remember the "Hug A Thûg" booth that the mаfіа (unions) set up outside of the democrat convention? ;) ;)

    Scott

    September 14, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Gina

    anolther trashy representative that of course is from the same party of the piece of trash – Romney – who is running for president. Romney – the one who calls the president a liar (look in a mirror often pinocchio?) This is the same party that is focusing on jobs (really???) – people voting for republicans are as ignorant and the party itself. Hopefully, when they lose this fall, that will mark the end of this republican party -

    September 14, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Core republican Values

    Well said, Mr. DeMint! Would you mind speaking up a little louder? There is a national election going on right now to be decided in November. Its important all of America knows exactly how much you and the party you represent (republican by the way) value America's teachers.

    September 14, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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