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. truth hurts

    You just have to know that the union demands are insane if even a stauch Democrat like Rahm Emmanuel will not agree to them. He and other Democrats have built a life long career around giving unions whatever they wanted. I guess when you are the mayor and on the front line with the voters, you have to be more responsible with the taxpayers/voters looking at your every move. But it easy amusing to see the unions/Democrats butt heads!

    September 14, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. greg

    The anti-educaiton mentality of GOPers fits right in with 7th century Islam.
    GOPers are anti-science, anti-reason, anti-education–a perfect recipe to lead a country into decline.
    India and China have no such qualms.

    September 14, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Chuk

    The real thugs are DeMint and his fellow right-wingers. Only thugs insist on "my way or no way" in a democracy.

    September 14, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. mrmagoo

    Tea Party is the GOP's demise. The harder they push their extreme right ideology the further left the country goes.

    September 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. DonJuan1943

    When Jim DeMint talks like this, he's "preaching to the choir". He will change no votes this way. It's a shame that every issue in country has factions that stoop to name calling and inuendo. Perhaps it's because we are so bereft of self esteem that we feek we have to call other people names to make ourselves feel good. Jim DeMint is a doo doo head and a poopie butt. ...just sayin'.

    September 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "As a Chicagoland parent, a sister of a Chicago striking teacher, and a registered Democrat, I totally agree with DeMint. Let's not forget; this union voted down a proposal from a strongly liberal mayor. That should tell you everything."

    Yeah, right, and I'm the Easter Bunny's acupuncturist.

    September 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. Lou

    @ Badly-Bent – What do you have against Lions? Why should you wish indigestion (or worse) on them? :)

    September 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Lou Cypher

    Do you suffer from irregular moderation?

    September 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. cnn are romney surrogates

    I'd compare Jim DeMint to a child pedophile much like Jerry Sandusky

    September 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

    Yeah, lets put teachers in jail, then the doctors and then the lawyers! So the Tea Party can roam free, carry assault weapons and pay no taxes!

    September 14, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Lou Cypher

    You're posting comments too quickly, slow down.

    September 14, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. rob

    Those teachers marching in the streets don't care about anything but their own paychecks. they don't care about children.

    September 14, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. jai jai

    Such a lovely man.

    September 14, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. waheid

    de Mint has no credibility outside the Republican Party or South Carolina. And, as a leading member of the Republicans in Congress who have sabotaged the legislative process, he has no right complaining about the tactics of others. Teachers in Chicago and other places in this country have legitimate complaints that are being ignored or opposed. The lessons taught in our schools by teachers benefits our students far more than the lessons taught by de Mint and his gang of thugs.

    September 14, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. Don in Houston

    If South Carolina voters have any decency, they will remove DeMint from office in the next senatorial election in that state. His comments are repugnant.

    September 14, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. The_Mick

    If teaching in Chicago is so easy and luxurious, why does Chicago -and many big cities and the State of Louisiana- send recruiting teams to 3rd world countries to find enough teachers. Why isn't there a waiting list? If people like DeMint are all for the "free market", why aren't they fighting for teachers salaries to be raised enough so that "supply and demand" is balanced? Instead, you end up with situations where thousands of Chicago's teachers are from 3rd world countries, 10% of Baltimore's teachers are from the Philippines, and Bobby Jindal is suing subcontractors for overcharging for supplying such teachers in 2010 – two years after the recession caused lots of unemployed American teachers! I guess its a case where you can't move the plant overseas, so let's bring the overseas workers here!

    September 14, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Gregory Joyner

    America will hear
    Help me put up a billboard with demints picture and word under it THUG

    September 14, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. myviewis

    scarf

    Remember, Hitler hated unions, too!
    ---------------------------

    You did see the signs the teachers are carrying that read: "Emanuel has got to go" and " Emanuel is a bully" and
    "Stop Rahmunism".

    September 14, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. Ariel

    That is the same thing Walker said in Wisconsin since he's been in office. Tea party idiot!

    September 14, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Lip Service - nothing more

    Oh my...republicans wil not stop embarrasing themselves. Please republican voters, please! vote these idiots out of office. You have become the Nazis of modern U.S., and disgusting ignorants like Demint are just making it worst for your platform. Many smart, educated and well-informed voters in this country would like to support your cause and efforts, but you have to clean your party from these uunprofessionals that are just wasting our oxygen. Please get it together for 2016 and give us the real Americans a reason to join the lines in the voting schools.

    PLEASE!

    September 14, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Gregory Joyner

    well said Greg

    September 14, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. myviewis

    greg

    The anti-educaiton mentality of GOPers fits right in with 7th century Islam.
    GOPers are anti-science, anti-reason, anti-education–a perfect recipe to lead a country into decline.
    India and China have no such qualms.
    -------------------------

    You do know that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a Democrat and that is who is fighting the teachers and teachers' union.

    September 14, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. truth hurts

    Hey CNN! Where the Ticker story about the NYC Big Gulp ban?!! Who cares about SNL! Let's start discussing how the looney left wants to control our entire life right down to the size soda we drink!

    September 14, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Sal

    Yes we do need Unions in this country! If the south would have had Unions the people would be getting much more money, benefits, health care, more smarts,etc! The poorest of the poor and the most uneducated in the south vote Republican! Every time someone votes for a mean spirited and nasty republican, they are voting against their own best interest! How dumb can one be? 

    September 14, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Pablo695

    Strange- When GOP "Thugs" hold the citizens of USA hostage for bloated defense spending and tax cuts for the rich, its A-OK; but when others choose to exercise their union or collective bargaining rights, the GOP is the very first to scream "NO NO NO".

    GOP – Do as I say, not as I do. When I do it, that's different!!!

    September 14, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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