Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a senior adviser to the White House, said she isn’t sure if teachers should be given firearms after the massacre at a Florida high school earlier this month that left 17 people dead. But she remained open to the proposal, saying such plans were “not a bad idea.”
Trump, the mother of three young children, made the comments in an interview with NBC News that aired Sunday during her visit to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Host Peter Alexander asked Trump about her father’s recent proposal to arm some highly-trained educators to prevent school shootings. Such teachers, the president later said, would be given “a little bit of a bonus,” and the new system would help turn schools into “a hardened target.”
After Alexander asked about Trump’s support for the proposal, she said: “To be honest, I don’t know.”
“Obviously, there would have to be an incredibly high standard for who would be able to bear arms in our school,” she said. “But I think there is no one solution to creating safety.”
She continued: “I think that having a teacher who is armed, who cares deeply about her students or his students and who is capable and qualified to bear arms is not a bad idea, but it is an idea that needs to be discussed,”
The Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has launched a fervor around the notion of arming educators after President Donald Trump floated the idea during a listening session with survivors of the attack.
“A teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer be a gun-free zone,” the president said at the event, suggesting armed teachers would be able to subdue a shooter faster than law enforcement. “You’d have a lot of people that would be armed, that’d be ready.”
The proposal, however, has drawn severe condemnation from teachers, parents and lawmakers who have argued that gun control would be a more effective means to keep school shootings from happening.
“We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators,” Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said last week. “Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.”
During Sunday’s interview, Alexander also asked Trump about comparisons made in the media between her and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who was at the Opening Ceremony. She said she didn’t feel like the two were that similar.
“I would far prefer to be compared to my sisters here in South Korea, who are thriving in this incredible democracy,” Trump noted.