This year’s Teacher of the Year met with Donald Trump on Wednesday, as is customary for people who receive that honor. But from the way the meeting went down, it’s clear that recipient Mandy Manning is not a fan of the 45th president.
Normally, when one receives an award and is honored by meeting with a person of importance, such as the president, you’re expected to shake his or her hand and show some amount of respect and deference. But according to Splinter News, Mrs. Manning did just the opposite, turning her meeting with Trump – and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos – into a low-key protest.
For the past six years, Manning has been teaching at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, where many of her students have been refugees and immigrants. And perhaps not unexpectedly, she and Trump have different views when it comes to such kids. And in fact, as Trump was introducing her at the East Wing ceremony last week, he failed to mention that, introducing her instead as just an English and math teacher.
Manning, for her part, didn’t let that aspect of her job go unnoticed. For starters, she wore several buttons on her dress, and if you look closely at them, you can see where she stands on these issues. One featured artwork from the 2017 Women’s March; another a rainbow flag and the slogan “Trans Equality Now!”
#TeacheroftheYear, Mandy Manning, sends Trump a message wearing buttons that rebuke the @POTUS hateful agenda. @PeaceCorps, National Endowment for the Arts @NEAarts, @womensmarch and #TransEqualityNow were clear messages to a backwards #GOP stance.???????????? https://t.co/Jxi7kQC6Ap pic.twitter.com/i4bS6bWZpq
— Kevin Putz (@kevputz) May 4, 2018
Further, according to White House Dossier, she neither applauded Trump as he walked into the room, nor did she shake his hand.
And in what may have been the boldest and most visible form of protest, Manning gave Trump some letters from her refugee students, one of which was from a Rwandan refugee who asked the president to “take care of” his language when it comes to Africa, what with Trump having referred to some African countries as “s**thole countries.”
Manning says that she was only doing what’s best for her students.
“My goal is to share my student’s stories. But to send a message — to not only my immigrant and refugee students but the LGBT community — that they are wanted, they are loved, they are enough and they matter.”
Writing for White House Dossier, however, writer Keith Koffler says he is not impressed.
“It’s too bad a woman like this is the gateway to their understanding of this great country. Her ‘teacher of the year’ [sic] award should be revoked and she should be fired, since political views, while generally free to be expressed, should not be delivered by teachers to children in public schools.”
In fact, Manning is not the only person to have treated a visit with Trump as something less than an honor. For decades, it’s been a tradition for the winners of sports championships (such as Super Bowl or World Series winners) to meet with the president. However, several players from several teams have declined this honor (during the Trump administration as well as previous administrations), some citing their opposition to the president as reasons, others offering other reasons or no reason at all.