On the very same day that Idaho voters approved school bonds and levies in school districts around the state, Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, provided a clear demonstration of the antagonism Idaho’s GOP have for teachers and the work they do.

During a break on the House floor on Tuesday, Nate was heard saying that many Idaho teachers are “clearly overpaid.” Nate presumably believed his mic was switched off. He said,

“We all know our districts. We know that there are some teachers that are clearly overpaid.” In reality, Idaho teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation.

Hours later Nate tried to turn the story around, crying “disingenuous reporting” and “fake news” on his personal Facebook page. He claims that the comment was taken out of context.

Listen to the audio from Nate’s mic yourself here.

If the comments were taken out of context, why has he not clarified exactly what context justifies claiming that Idaho’s hard working public educators are overpaid? He can’t provide appropriate context because these comments are unacceptable. This is not “fake news.” Nate said something regrettable and unscripted, refuses to take ownership, and now blames the media for making “fake news.” Sounds familiar.

The national GOP declared war on public education when they approved Trump’s no-experience, billionaire nominee for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Rep. Nate’s cringe-worthy comments yesterday demonstrate that the anti-public education sentiment is alive and well among Republicans in our own Legislature.

Idahoans support public education. Idahoans support teachers. Rep. Nate is out of touch.