Mandy Manning, this year’s National Teacher of the Year, said Trump wouldn’t let her give a speech during her award ceremony at the White House where she refused to shake his hand.
But in an interview with CNN‘s Van Jones, Manning read from her speech, which referenced the immigrant and refugee students she teaches, as well as her support for LGBT and other marginalized students.
Manning’s students come from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and elsewhere. She listed the names of her students who she says rely on America’s,
“policy of welcoming immigrants and promoting peace. I am here for refugee and immigrant students [and] students in the Gay-Straight Alliance.
In the current political climate, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric is rampant. As soon as my students arrive, they are afraid they will have to leave. Most of my students come to the U.S. seeking safety, but they don’t always feel safe here. This makes it hard for them to share and learn from others. I must help them understand current events, know their rights, and provide a safe and welcoming environment.””
Trump hosted Manning, along with other award finalists and teachers from each state, at the White House but didn’t mention her role teaching immigrant students. Trump said,
“Her incredible devotion has earned her the adoration — total adoration, actually — and respect of students and colleagues throughout her school district, community and the entire state.”
The event was not open to the press, but a report from The Guardian noted that Manning wore six political badges pinned to her dress at the ceremony in silent protest. Manning also did not clap for Trump as he entered the room.
Trump has sought to reduce the level of refugees entering the U.S. and moved to crack down on immigrants in the country illegally, arguing it is in the interest of national security and announced last year that his administration would allow no more than 45,000 refugees into the U.S. in 2018.