Newt Gingrich was challenged Wednesday on his statements about child labor laws, which he has called "truly stupid."
Turns out, some former child janitors don't, as Gingrich has said, feel empowered by the job.
At a Wednesday evening Gingrich event at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., an alumnus who used to work as a janitor told the candidate he was offended by his stance on child labor.
"For me, it was embarrassing to be a janitor at my own high school. ... I was poor. My mom was working super hard. I did not feel empowered by serving my classmates," Hector Cendejas said, according to the Washington Post. "Why not invest on these kids to work for a law firm?"
"Your remark was a little offensive to me," he added.
Gingrich said in November 2011 that low-income children should work in their schools as janitors, as both a cost-saving measure to get rid of unionized adult workers and to give the students money and "pride in the schools."
"Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school," he said. "The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they'd begin the process of rising."
He stood behind those statements on Wednesday, the Post reported:
Gingrich sparred with the young man, countering that his daughters worked as janitors and had found the job a fruitful one.
"But they come from a wealthy family," the young man said, to some boos from the crowd.
"I wasn’t wealthy," Gingrich responded, to applause. "I wasn’t wealthy. You know, I just disagree."