Randi Weingarten threatened with a subpoena to provide documents to Republicans on school re-opening
Randi Weingarten threatened with a subpoena if she doesn’t hand over documents proving she ‘worked with the Biden administration’ to slow the re-opening of schools: GOP gives teachers’ union head a week to comply
- The head of the American Federation of Teachers Weingarten is accused of pressuring the Biden administration during the pandemic to keep schools closed and let teachers work remotely
- Weingarten has until May 30 to comply with Republicans’ demands or face legal action
Republicans are threatening to subpoena teacher’s union boss Randi Weingarten if she doesn’t hand over information they say is evidence that she worked with the Biden administration to slow-roll school re-openings after the COVID pandemic.
The head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Weingarten is accused of pressuring the Biden administration during the pandemic to keep schools closed and let teachers work remotely.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic led by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, sent a letter Tuesday to AFT’s counsel giving Weingarten exactly one week – until May 30 – to comply with their demands or face legal action.
The Republicans are specifically investigating whether ‘non-governmental groups exercised undue influence’ over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and have accused AFT of conspiring with the Biden administration to keep school shuttered, to the benefit of teachers and detriment of children.
Weingarten was with then-candidate Joe Biden at a town hall in Houston as part of his presidential election campaign
Weingarten confirmed on April 26 during a congressional hearing that the CDC ‘consulted’ AFT leadership on the agency’s 2021 school re-opening guidance.
In addition, Weingarten revealed at the hearing that she had been communicating with Biden’s presidential transition team on school closures and ‘had a direct line’ to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, say the Republicans.
Walensky recently announced that she will be stepping down from running the CDC in June.
‘Despite our continued and repeated reasonable accommodations, AFT continues to frustrate the Select Subcommittee’s investigation,’ the lawmakers write, referring to their initial March 28 letter asking for more information on the teachers’ union connections to the Biden administration.
‘Unless an agreement can be reached soon, we will be forced to consider the use of compulsory process.’
The Republicans outlined a series of correspondence they have had with AFT since the hearing – including a May 5 letter and phone call on May 10 – but they say the union has continued to stonewall on every request for information.
The select committee is specifically seeking transcribed interviews from four other AFT employees and all documents and communications between Weingarten and the Biden transition team.
Additionally, Republicans demand phone records, text messages and calls between CDC’s Walensky and Weingarten regarding COVID school closures.
AFT spokesperson Michael Bromwich said in a statement: ‘We are gratified to see that the Select Subcommittee has belatedly recognized that its previous requests were both burdensome and legally indefensible. The Subcommittee has narrowed the requests sufficiently so that we can continue working voluntarily to provide information that falls within its mandate.’
A recent study revealed that math scores for American children across the nation saw their biggest decreases ever, and reading scores fell to levels not seen since the early 1990s during the COVID pandemic.
Weingarten consistently finds herself in the middle of political outrage and has tried to avoid blame for the large decline in test scores – despite backing policies to keep schools closed.
Weingarten confirmed on April 26 during a congressional hearing that the CDC ‘consulted’ AFT leadership on the agency’s 2021 school re-opening guidance
‘During the pandemic, we understood that small businesses were hurting, and we helped them, and it didn’t go to the Supreme Court to challenge it. Big businesses were hurting, and we helped them, and it didn’t go to the Supreme Court to challenge it. All of a sudden, when it’s about our students, they challenge it’
One particular tweet by Weingarten sparked massive outrage after she shifted blame off herself saying, ‘The bottom line is everyone suffered in the pandemic … because of the pandemic.
‘The disruption was everywhere, and it was bad regardless of whether schools were remote or in person,’ she wrote. ‘We are focused now on the urgent need to help kids recover and thrive.’
Florida State Board of Education member Ryan Petty accused her of gaslighting, while John Cardillo, a former radio host called Weingarten a ‘backpedaling hack.’
Weingarten also fought against former Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ vow to reopen schools, and said in July 2020: ‘There’s no way that you’re going to have full-time schools for all the kids and all the teachers the way we used to have it.’