President Donald Trump spent Thursday grappling with how to prevent more school massacres and address the gun debate gripping the country, offering solutions such as giving bonuses to teachers who undergo gun training.”These people are cowards. They’re not going to walk into a school if 20% of the teachers have guns — it may be 10% or may be 40%. And what I’d recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus. We give them a little bit of a bonus,” Trump said. “They’ll frankly feel more comfortable having the gun anyway. But you give them a little bit of a bonus.”
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters after Trump’s comments that the proposal hasn’t reached the policy or legislative point yet, but downplayed questions about how the plan would be funded.
“I think that if we find the policy solutions that make the most sense that we can get buy in for, we’ll figure out the rest of the pieces that you outlined,” he said.
Asked about the cost of a plan — which could be well into the hundreds of millions of dollars — Shah again repeated that the policy “hasn’t been fleshed out” but added, “Do we really think that that’s too much to pay for school safety?”
Trump proposed a series of measures to respond to the shooting in Parkland, Florida, during a freewheeling session at the White House.
Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, knocked the proposal in a statement on behalf of the teachers’ union.
“Teachers don’t want to be armed,” Weingarten said. “We want to teach. We don’t want to be, and would never have the expertise needed to be, sharp shooters; no amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15.”
At the session, Trump repeated his suggestion that some teachers get trained to handle firearms as a deterrent to shooters and disparaged “gun-free zones.”