“You Never Want a Serious Crisis to Go to Waste”
Former Obama administration Chief of Staff and Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed a scheme to take advantage of the country’s emotional response to the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook School massacre. The conversation is documented in emails released to the Baltimore Post under a Freedom of Information Act request.
“During a roughly 10 minute period, the native Chicagoans exchanged seven messages two days following the massacre in which Mayor Emanuel, who had previously served as President Barrack Obama’s chief of staff, advised Secretary Duncan on what position he should take on the Sandy Hook shootings,” the Post reports.
At 6:57PM EST on December 16, 2012, Duncan wrote to Emanuel in a message titled “CT shootings.”
Duncan asked the Chicago mayor, “What are your thoughts?”
Five minutes later, Emanuel responded, “Go for a vote this week before it fades. Tap peoples emotion. Make it simple assault weapons.”
Duncan responded immediately, “Yup- thanks.”
“When I did brady bill and assault weapons for clinton we always made it simple. Criminals or war weapons,” Emanuel said in the email to Duncan.
“Gun show loophole?” Duncan responded. “Database? Cop-killer bullets? Too complicated?” he said.
“Cop killer maybe,” Emanuel responded. “The other no.”
The exchange ended when Duncan concluded with, “Got it.” (Emphases added.)
Emanuel was a central member of the Clinton White House from 1993 to 1998, helping to enact that administration’s Assault Weapons Ban. He has also been an Illinois congressional representative and central member of the Democratic Party. Emanuel presently serves as and Mayor of Chicago.
Neither Emanuel nor Duncan responded to the Post when asked for comment on the December 2012 exchange.
Despite the silence on the matter, in one of Duncan’s last Tweets, which quotes him from a recent interview in The Atlantic, the former education secretary coincidentally addresses the very tragedy discussed in the emails.
“‘We played by all the rules after Sandy Hook. We did a study, we did a report, we worked with Congress, and guess what we accomplished? Nothing.’ @arneduncan on a plan to boycott American schools.”
In the interview from which he is quoted, Duncan says that one of the most disappointing failures of his career has been deaths that have occurred under his watch due to gun violence.
Duncan is supportive of the current student protests and proposal for a nationwide school boycott sparked by the Parkland school shooting. He argues that lawmakers’ have been unsuccessful in their attempts to enact more severe gun control legislation.
Of the school boycott idea, Duncan said during the interview, “Nothing we have done to date has worked. We have absolutely failed. I have failed. We’ve all failed. But I am also more hopeful today than I have been at any time since the Sandy Hook massacre.”