Republicans in revolt over Trump's plan to force schools to reopen during pandemic: report
President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at the White House. (AFP / Roberto SCHMIDT)

According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump's rush to force schools to reopen is getting pushback not only from teachers but also from Republican allies who worry that he is putting kids at risk when the coronavirus pandemic is on the rise again.

On Friday, the president tweeted that schools must open and, along with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, threatened federal funding for schools would be withheld if school districts did not comply.

According to Joy Hofmeister, the Republican state superintendent of schools in Oklahoma, Trump's "Threats are not helpful," adding, "We do not need to be schooled on why it’s important to reopen.”

As Politico's report notes, "An overwhelming alignment of state and even Republican-aligned organizations oppose the rush to reopen schools. The nation’s leading pediatricians, Republican state school chiefs, Christian colleges and even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have all challenged parts of Trump’s pressure campaign."

Trump's desire to get back to school is reportedly influenced by his re-election hopes, with his campaign believing that getting kids back in school will help him with suburban moms. However, the president's plan is bumping up against the American Academy of Pediatrics which issued a statement on Friday calling it "misguided."

According to Oklahoma's Hofmeister, "Educating our kids shouldn’t be about politics — it’s about focusing on what’s needed.”

She is not alone among Republicans in going public with criticism of the president's plan.

"In Indiana, the home state of Vice President Mike Pence, the Republican state schools chief also responded to threats to cut funding to schools amid the pandemic in a tweet on Friday. 'Students deserve an unprecedented federal investment in resources not cuts or diversion of funds,' said Jennifer McCormick," Politico reports.

The report goes on to note that the president's additional plan to force schools to open or face seeing foreign students sent home also has come under criticism from his traditional allies.

 "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce blasted the plan as 'ill-conceived' and harmful to businesses. On Friday, a coalition of Christian groups, including the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Evangelicals and Bethany Christian Services, said that international students shouldn’t be expelled from U.S. campuses during the pandemic," the Politico report states.

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