Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) blamed former President Donald Trump on Tuesday for the impasse blocking students from returning to in-person learning in the Windy City.
What is the background?
The vast majority of Chicago students who attend city schools, nearly 400,000 in all, have not received in-person instruction since schools were closed at the beginning of the pandemic last spring.
But that's not because the city hasn't attempted to reopen schools.
In fact, students kindergarten through eighth grade were scheduled to return to in-person learning on Monday. But that didn't happen because the Chicago Teachers Union has refused to agree to the city's plan, and the city has caved to the union — at least for now.
The union claims in-person learning remains unsafe for students and staff because of COVID-19, despite the city spending more than $100 million to make schools safe. Meanwhile, most of Chicago's private schools and learning centers are operating with in-person instruction.
What did Lightfoot say?
Lightfoot claimed on CNN that Trump is the reason Chicago public school students have not yet returned to in-person learning, citing "incompetence" with the vaccine rollout.
"This is a very difficult situation and we're in it, still, because of the incompetence of the previous administration. So I think it's important for both sides to come to the table in good faith, recognize that we're both trying to work through a very challenging situation but we must get a deal done," Lightfoot said.
One of the biggest concerns of the teachers' union is the safety of educators, and therefore teachers receiving the vaccine, and accommodations for teachers who believe returning to in-person learning would jeopardize their health.
Later in her interview, Lightfoot doubled down on her attack on the Trump administration.
"These are really difficult times in a pandemic, exacerbated by the incompetence of the previous administration that didn't leave us with enough vaccine to really quickly get to the entire population in our city that needs it. But we're going to keep working hard recognizing the concern that, really, all of our residents have regarding COVID-19," Lightfoot said.
What's the irony?
As the Chicago Tribune noted, Lightfoot's blame-shifting came just one day after she said on MSNBC that Chicago was facing a "uniquely local issue," referring to the powerful teachers' union bucking city plans to reopen public schools.
Meanwhile, as TheBlaze reported, the Trump administration's vaccine rollout was anything but incompetent, nearly accomplishing President Joe Biden's campaign promise regarding COVID vaccine administration.
In fact, data show that vaccine administration averaged nearly 1 million doses per day under Trump, even topping 1 million doses many times before Biden took office.