Inslee: Trump threats on reopening schools ‘hogwash’

The president said he’d hold back federal money if school districts don’t bring students back in the fall.

By Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said President Donald Trump’s comments earlier this week pressuring governors to open the schools in the fall were “hogwash” and he said the state will not be bullied into making potentially unsafe decisions during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Decisions about school and how to have it, onsite or otherwise, will remain with the state of Washington,” the Democrat said at a news conference Thursday. “These are Washington students and Washington state has the legal authority to make decisions about their education.”

On Tuesday, Trump argued that some states are keeping schools closed not because of the risks from the coronavirus pandemic but for political reasons.

“They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” Trump said at a White House discussion on school plans for the fall. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”

And on Wednesday, Trump threatened to hold back federal money if school districts don’t bring their students back in the fall.

Inslee, who ran for his party’s presidential nomination last year and has sparred with Trump before, insisted Thursday the state is “not going to be bullied.

“If it’s necessary, we have the courts available,” he said.

Inslee said that he is meeting with state schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal next week to discuss how schools will approach fall instruction.

“I want schools to open in a manner that maximizes learning while simultaneously is safe for our students and wider community,” Inslee said.

The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

More than 38,500 people have tested positive for the virus in Washington state and at least 1,409 have died.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

In this image taken Jan. 16, 2013, two people walk the beach at Discovery Park in Seattle. At 534 acres, Discovery Park is the largest park in the city and it features seaside bluffs, views of the Puget Sound, trails, a light house and a beach.  (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes )
Operating error sends wastewater into Puget Sound

The public is advised to avoid contact with the water at Discovery Park, which is near the sewage spill.

A lone man walks a dog, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, near apartments in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday, March 23, 2020, ordered nonessential businesses to close and the state's more than 7 million residents to stay home in efforts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seattle rents down 20% since start of COVID-19 pandemic

Median rents in Seattle were $1,395 for a one-bedroom and $1,739 for a two-bedroom.

Short-staffed care homes to receive help from state

Six teams will work at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and other long-term care providers.

FILE - In this May 15, 2019 file photo, the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River is seen from the air near Colfax, Wash. Environmental groups are vowing to continue their fight to remove four dams on the Snake River in Washington state they say are killing salmon that are a key food source for endangered killer whales. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Study looks at impact of ocean and dams on salmon runs

Fish recovery efforts should focus on the ocean, not on freshwater, says the BPA-funded scientist.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman talks to reporters in her office, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Wyman was talking about a series of election- and ballot-security bills her office is asking the Washington Legislature to consider during the current session. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington secretary of state certifies election results

Joe Biden will receive the state’s 12 electoral votes at the Electoral College on Dec. 14.

Visitors view photos of people who were killed by police in Washington State and elsewhere, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, inside what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in Seattle. Police have pulled back from a part of the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood near the department's East Precinct after recent clashes with people protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Lawmakers, activists set ambitious agenda for police reform

The bills being drafted represent a broad overhaul of policing and police accountability in Washington.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at Rideau Cottage during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
Canada: US border measures to last until virus under control

About 400,000 people crossed the world’s longest international border each day before the pandemic.

Prosecutors: Hate crimes on the rise in King County

Two years ago, there were 30 hate crimes in King County. So far in 2020, the number is up to 51.

FILE - In this 2013 file photo, cone collectors like Gabe Thorne, of Hamilton, head up into the high country around the west to climb to the very top of whitebark pine and collect cones from disease-free trees in Sula, Mont. U.S. officials say climate change, beetles and a deadly fungus are imperiling the long-term survival of the high-elevation tree found in the western U.S.. (AP Photo/Ravalli Republic via AP, File)
High mountain pine tree that feeds grizzlies is threatened

Whitebark pine trees grow in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, California and Nevada.

Kennewick teen one of 1st children in state to die from COVID

About 15% of cases in Washington are in young people up to age 19.

Bellingham women suspected in terrorist attack against BNSF

They allegedly interfered with the railroad’s safety features by placing a shunt on the tracks.

In this April 22, 2020, photo, a sign at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash., directs visitors and non-hospital employees to check in at another building where health screening is done. Employees at the facility — the state's largest psychiatric hospital — say that problems with testing for the coronavirus likely produced inaccurate results and exposed them to the virus a second time. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington psychiatric hospital sees spike in COVID-19 cases

Officials are scrambling to find nurses to work on the COVID-19 ward and have offered overtime pay.