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Arizona Lawmaker Under Fire for Telling Kids There are Schools for Suicide Bombers

An Arizona lawmaker upset parents when he told students there are schools for suicide bombers.

GettyImages-51669885
GettyImages-51669885

Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon is not a fan of world powers' deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, which the White House is trying to sell to Congress. He shared his dislike of the agreement with what many would consider an inappropriate audience.

Speaking to second- and third-graders at San Tan Charter School in his home district last week, Salmon was expected to stick with the “Schoolhouse Rock” version of how a bill becomes a law. According to Scott Campbell, a parent of one girl in the class, he veered off script.

"It should have probably just been a good civics lesson for kids who initially were excited to meet their congressman," Campbell told KPHO, a local television station. “The congressman chose to give an example of the current situation in Iran, and made some inappropriate comments about 'Do you know what a nuclear weapon is? Do you know that there are schools that train children your age to be suicide bombers?'"  

Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon is not a fan of world powers’ deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, which the White House is trying to sell to Congress. He shared his dislike of the agreement with what many would consider an inappropriate audience.

Speaking to second- and third-graders at San Tan Charter School in his home district last week, Salmon was expected to stick with the “Schoolhouse Rock” version of how a bill becomes a law. According to Scott Campbell, a parent of one girl in the class, he veered off script.

“It should have probably just been a good civics lesson for kids who initially were excited to meet their congressman,” Campbell told KPHO, a local television station. “The congressman chose to give an example of the current situation in Iran, and made some inappropriate comments about ‘Do you know what a nuclear weapon is? Do you know that there are schools that train children your age to be suicide bombers?'”  

“After school my daughter was very concerned and said to me she actually didn’t even know what suicide was and was very afraid,” he added.

Salmon’s office defended the congressman’s actions, saying the topics he discussed are no worse than what children hear on local news. According to the Arizona Republic, Salmon talked with some of the parents on Monday. His spokesman said the conversations were “pleasant.”

But the fact that Salmon felt the need to bring up his perceived danger of the deal with a group of kids shows just how strongly those who oppose want to kill it. President Barack Obama got one step closer to getting it through the Senate Tuesday, when Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. Bob Casey and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) announced they would back the agreement.

“I believe it is the best option available to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Casey, who earlier this year backed sanctions legislation opposed by the Obama, said in a statement. He added the agreement “places strict limitations on Iran’s nuclear program, requires robust monitoring and verification measures, and grants relief only from nuclear sanctions in exchange for verified actions on Iran’s part.”

“I will support this agreement and vote against any measures to disapprove it in Congress,” Coons added at a Tuesday afternoon event at the University of Delaware. “I will support this agreement because it puts us on a known path of limiting Iran’s nuclear program for the next fifteen years with the full support of the international community. The alternative, to me, is a scenario of uncertainty and isolation.”

Now, the president’s magic number in the Senate is one, meaning he needs one more lawmaker to get on board to sustain the veto he promised if Republicans pass a resolution disapproving of the deal. Obama now has 33 senators who have agreed to support the deal. He needs 34 to uphold a presidential veto if Republicans force through the disapproval resolution. And he needs 41 votes to block the resolution from passing. Eleven Senate Democrats have yet to declare their position on the deal.

Photo Credit: Stephen Jaffe/Getty Images

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