Donald Trump Jr. suggested that women who “can’t handle” sexual harassment should become kindergarten teachers in a 2013 radio interview. And, predictably, teachers are not happy.
During a discussion on the Opie and Anthony radio show about sexual harassment in the workforce, Trump Jr. said: “If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce. Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position. You can’t be negotiating billion-dollar deals if you can’t handle, like, you know. But listen—there’s a place where you have to draw the line. But today the stuff you get in trouble for...”
The quote immediately set off a firestorm among kindergarten teachers. The quote, critics said, was a triple insult: It suggested that teaching kindergarten isn’t a real job, that kindergarten teachers don’t get sexually harassed, and that women should be able to tough out sexual harassment in the office.
As a kindergarten teacher I know Trump and his son wouldn’t last a week in my job. #trump
-- Luanne Williams (@lwpoovy) October 14, 2016
As a kindergarten teacher, I can say that Donald Trump Jr. clearly failed to learn the most important lessons of kindergarten. //t.co/8qAsTJ9ARo
-- Ariel Aver Matasar (@arielamatasar) October 14, 2016
-- Cynthia Coppinger (@CynthiaAnne81) October 14, 2016
I was a kindergarten teacher and guess what? I can handle harassment of any kind. What I won’t do is tolerate it.
-- Simply Perfect Girl (@SimplyPerfGirl) October 14, 2016
I suspect a class full of kindergarten kids would eat him alive. //t.co/Eq0jJxKaSu
-- Rob Garver (@rrgarver) October 14, 2016
being a kindergarten teacher isn’t something to scoff at..takes patience, strength, compassionate and hard work to wrangle and teach tots! //t.co/uNsXwJghhD
-- Kristen Holmes (@KristenhCNN) October 14, 2016
@PoliticsK12 Setting aside the dismissal of harassment, as a former kinder teacher, perpetually affronted whenever someone assumes it’s easy
-- Alyssa Schwenk (@alyssaschwenk) October 14, 2016
@PoliticsK12 I taught kindergarten and definitely experienced unacceptable conduct at work during those four years. So, it’s a no from me.
-- Hailly T.N. Korman (@HaillyKorman) October 14, 2016
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, also weighed in on Twitter, saying: “He equates not working to teaching kindergarten. Talk to any kindergarten teacher—it’s hard work.”
(Don’t we know it. My colleague Christina Samuels reported just last year that the expectations of kindergarten are increasing, with a larger focus on academics and curriculum.)
During his speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Trump Jr. criticized schools as being out of the “Soviet era” because they served school employees instead of students. He also praised school choice as a way to improve educational outcomes.
For more of a teacher’s perspective on the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding Donald Trump, see Christina Torres’ recent Education Week Teacher blog post: On Being a Female Teacher in ‘Trump’s’ America.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.