Bennett Gets His Knuckles Rapped After Pointed Remarks at Summit

October 11, 1989 1 min read

Washington--William J. Bennett was scolded by the White House a day after he launched into a widely reported, sarcastic diatribe in which he derided as “pap” the content of a discussion at the education summit, Marlin Fitzwater, the President’s press secretary, confirmed last week.

Summit observers had predicted that the former secretary of education would, in the words of one gubernatorial aide, “get his knuckles rapped” in the wake of his biting remarks.

“Thanks for your comments. They weren’t helpful,” White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu told Mr. Bennett, Mr. Fitzwater informed reporters last week.

Mr. Fitzwater, who reportedly announced the reprimand without prompting, said Mr. Bennett “has probably gotten the message.”

Mr. Bennett, now the nation’s so-called “drug czar,” made his controversial remarks at a news confer4ence where he was asked to describe a discussion session he had moderated during the first day of the summit.

“There was standard Democratic pap. There was standard Republican pap,” he said.

“And there was something that rhymes with pap,” he continued. “Much of the discussion proceeded in an absence of what works.”

The remarks became the talk of the summit, and several governors publicly denounced Mr. Bennett’s opinion.--jm

A version of this article appeared in the October 11, 1989 edition of Education Week as Bennett Gets His Knuckles Rapped After Pointed Remarks at Summit