Several parents are demanding answers from Congressman Matt Salmon, saying they cannot believe what the lawmaker said to young school children during a visit to a Gilbert school. "It should have probably just been a good civics lesson for kids who initially were excited to meet their congressman," parent Scott Campbell said. That excitement, however, turned into fear.
It's quite common for members of Congress to make appearances in schools and speak to local students. The challenge, however, is reminding lawmakers about age-appropriate messages.
About a year ago, for example, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) spoke at a high school, where he used "salty language," told a story "that involved flying to Paris to get drunk," compared marriage equality to "bull sex," and made some deeply unfortunate remarks about teen suicide. The school's principal wasn't pleased.
Fast forward a year and we find another conservative Republican congressman speaking to an even younger group of students, making a presentation that arguably went even worse. KPHO in Arizona reported yesterday:
According to the report from the local CBS affiliate, Salmon, a 10-term congressman, was supposed to talk to 2nd- and 3rd-graders about how bills become laws. But when Salmon turned his attention to vetoes, the Republican apparently decided to talk about his opposition to nuclear diplomacy with Iran.
One unhappy parent recalled that Salmon asked the small children, "Do you know what a nuclear weapon is? Do you know that there are schools that train children your age to be suicide bombers?"
Remember earlier this year, when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a three-year-old child, "The world is on fire.... Your world is on fire"? By all accounts, Salmon's comments were about as appropriate.
The school's principal sent a note to parents about the incident, praising the kids' teacher for being quick on her feet: "Ms. Kisler did a great job and interrupted the Q & A to thank the Congressman for coming to the classroom."
The Washington Post's report added that Salmon has reached out to many parents directly to apologize for the incident.