CDC Dir. Rochelle Walensky Confirms AFT Pushed for School Closure Triggers, Randi Weingarten Hardest Hit

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On Capitol Hill there is a lot of activity, too. While the focus of much of Tuesday was on Miami as Donald Trump prepared for his arraignment at federal court, a flurry on Capitol Hill also took place. The House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus Pandemic conducted a hearing on Tuesday morning to discuss CDC policies and decision-making during the pandemic.

The CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was asked to testify. The full video can be viewed here, but a key part of her testimony was prompted when Brad Wenstrup, the Subcommittee chair (R-OH), questioned her.

This is the part of the exchange that you’re looking for:

Wenstrup : Did the American Federation of Teachers suggest edits to CDC’s February 20, 2021 school opening guidelines, including a trigger for automatically closing schools, which, if implemented would have kept many more schools closed, and children out of the classrooms?

Walensky: I believe that the AFT wanted to have closure triggers.

Wenstrup : You’re answering ‘yes’?

Walensky: Yes.

Walensky quickly added that the AFT suggested edits had not been accepted.

It’s a fascinating response, especially in light of AFT President Randi Winegarten’s testimony to the same committee at the end of April. She steadfastly stated that the AFT worked tirelessly to open the schools.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, testified before a Congressional Subcommittee Wednesday about the role that her Union played in the closure of schools during the COVID Pandemic. Weingarten, in her overtly emotional, barraging voice, testified to the subcommittee that AFT did not advocate or push school closures but worked instead to open them.

Weingarten said:

I’m so sorry, Congressman Raskin… We spent every single day in February trying to open schools. We knew remote education wasn’t a substitute for school openings.

According to Walensky, that was the same month in which the AFT suggested edits that would cause automatic school closings.

It is fascinating to see the apparent contradiction between Walensky and Weingarten, especially after Weingarten tried to undermine a Twitter Community Notes’ fact-check of her testimony. RedState’s Brittany Sheehan explained this at the time.

Weingarten, in response to criticisms of her testimony posted a video showing her appearing on media interviews, repeating phrases that they wanted to open school, but they had to make sure they did it safely.

The caption on her video reads as follows:

Republicans in the House Covid Subcommittee would like you to believe that I want to keep the schools closed. Here is what I said… repeatedly.

Weingarten has closed the comments so that only accounts she follows are able to reply. Twitter finds a solution. According to the policies of the platform, a Community Notes box was displayed on the tweet. It provided context which was rated helpful.

Weingarten unpinned the video she posted on April 26, republishing it the following day and pining the new post at the top of her Twitter profile, in an apparent attempt to undermine the text and sources that were added to the original tweet.

Bob Hoge reported that Weingarten, not satisfied with the criticism she received after her testimony, took to Twitter again in May to make her case.

Weingarten has not learned from her mistake and continues to tweet her absurd claims. Community Notes noticed:

She wrote, “We worked together three years ago to bring our children back to classrooms in a safe way for staff & kids,” in the tweet above on May 8. Notes (which must be upvoted by many different users) reacted quickly, stating that “Weingarten misrepresents her previous positions.” She called the attempts to reopen school in fall 2020 “reckless, callous and cruel” and provided a link to an article that supported their claim.

One person said that “her union pushed at the local level,” and a third added “Areas where there was high union influence were closed for much longer.”

Weingarten’s critics weren’t limited to Twitter. Others questioned if she could be charged with perjury and called for Congress to hold Weingarten accountable.

It’s no wonder that Weingarten rushed back to the war-torn Ukraine shortly after.

Because, it’s there that the second largest teachers’ union in the country is most needed.

This select subcommittee is under the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. Wenstrup’s Tuesday line of questions was likely a response to that call for accountability.