Gov. Mike Parson has gained national attention for comments he made Friday on “The Marc Cox Morning Show” in St. Louis. The governor has been firm in getting Missouri’s kids back to school this fall.

Gov. Mike Parson

“These kids have got to get back to school,” Parson said. “They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices. They’re going to go home, and they’re going to get over it.”

The governor’s comments have sparked a flurry of criticism in Missouri and nationally.

A statement from Missouri National Education Association President Phil Murray says Parson’s comments demonstrate “a callous disregard for the suffering of children and the safety of the parents, grandparents, educators, and students that will be put at risk if schools are reopened with improper plans and protections.”

State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Parson’s comments displayed “stunning ignorance”.

Former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, had a bit more to say.

Former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, inserted her thoughts.

During a press conference Wednesday at the state Capitol, Parson started off by bringing up the topic. The governor says he did not do a good job of explaining his point – that COVID-19 will likely be in Missouri’s schools and we must be prepared.

“For someone to use politics as a tool to say that I don’t give a damn about children is one sick individual,” Parson says during a Capitol press conference Wednesday. “And anybody that wants to follow my career, take a good look at it and you’ll find out who I care about and who I’ve protected.”

Parson pointed out that his daughter is a teacher and he has five grandchildren attending public schools. He added that he has funded education more than any other Missouri governor.

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