Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called teachers "thugs” in a recent Facebook post, prompting members of the state teachers union to compare Hogan to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). “It’s disappointing, especially as teachers are getting prepared to go back to school,” said Chris Lloyd, an elementary school teacher and president of the Montgomery County teachers union. "We are in a season of choices, and words matter," Lloyd said. "These words can heal and uplift and inspire, or they can divide and demean. As teachers, we seek to use the former, and I respectfully ask our governor to do the same. While we may disagree at times, I know the children in our community learn about how to get along by watching and listening to what we do." After the post generated backlash from teachers and their supporters, Hogan quickly backpedaled and said he loves teachers and that he meant the controversial word to describe teachers union officials who criticized his decision not to spend money the legislature has set aside to help local governments fund teacher pensions. "I am a 'union thug' who just spent hundreds of dollars of my own money to prepare my classroom to be more welcoming for your children," wrote Rhonda Wagner on the Maryland State Education Association Facebook page. "Thank you for demonizing me and my fellow teachers Governor Hogan."
- includes reporting by Ovetta Williams in The Washington Post; photo courtesy MSEA Facebook page