New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that it was teachers unions who deserved a “punch in the face” on the national level.
Tapper asked the Republican presidential contender about previous statements he’d made about two ways one can treat bullies: “During your first term as governor, you were fond of saying you can treat bullies in one of two ways, ‘saddle up to them or you can punch them in the face.’ you said, ‘I like to punch them in the face.’ At the national level, who deserves a punch in the face?”
“Oh, the national teachers union. Who’s already endorsed Hillary Clinton, 16, 17 months before the election,” Christie said. “They’re not for education for our children. They’re for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members. And they are the single most destructive force in public education in America.”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 2, 2015
Christie has made no secret of his disdain of teachers and their unions, and has shouted down teachers at many town halls.
Only one teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, has so far endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
The New Jersey Education Association issued a statement on Christie’s remarks. “Chris Christie’s instinct is always to threaten, bully and intimidate instead of build consensus and show true leadership,” President Wendell Steinhauer said. “He should resign as governor immediately.”
Teachers unions, and the teaching profession generally, are a predominately female profession. Women make up more than 80 percent of elementary and middle school teachers. According to the Association of American Educators, male teachers make up 42 percent of the high school teaching staff nationwide, 18.3 percent of middle and elementary school teachers, and just 2.3 percent of pre-K and kindergarten teachers.