In her first official tweet ever, Julianne Benzel, the beloved AP American History teacher who was put on paid leave for questioning the National School Walkout Day, announced that she is running for president in 2020.
“This is my first ever Tweet so I’m making it COUNT! To dispel any false rumors, it is TRUE that I am running for President in 2020… a government ‘OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people!’ Common sense and decency must return,” Benzel announced in a tweet Thursday.
Benzel made national headlines in March when, without explanation, she was notified on the morning of the politically charged walkout demonstration for gun control and school safety that she had been placed on paid administrative leave. It wasn’t until reporters showed up at her house that afternoon that Benzel learned why she had been suspended: A couple of students complained about her asking her classes the previous week to consider if it was wise for a school to officially endorse a political demonstration. If the school endorses a pro-gun control demonstration, does it then have to endorse a pro-life event? For that, she was temporarily placed on paid leave, something the school wanted quickly “swept up.” But it was too late for administrators: the local news report soon went national and the targeting of Benzel eventually made its way to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
In an email exchange with the Daily Wire Thursday, Benzel said she’d decided to throw her hat in the ring because she believes Americans are desperate to have people who don’t just represent the “every day average American,” but actually are every day average Americans themselves.
“I believe my candidacy would resonate with a vast majority of Americans,” Benzel told the Daily Wire. “The relentless and unending support that I continue to receive from around the entire country made my final decision to do this.”
Asked about her rationale for running in 2020, Benzel underscored that she is “not interested in opposing Trump.”
“I am actually trying to help him win reelection,” she said. “I adore Mike Pence, and I’m not trying to oust him out of a job, but Trump needs to expand his base and win in new territories to win reelection. I am out here in California with 55 electoral votes that are handed every year to the Democrats, blindly. I want that to end!”
News of Benzel’s presidential aspirations was first reported by The Blast, which published a copy of her statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Election Commission last week:
Benzel told The Blast that over the years, her students have repeatedly told her she should run for president, but she’d always shrugged it off until the events of last month, which she said “made me realize that conservative voices may not always be the loudest but they are indeed plentiful.” As the story circulated, she says she “received phone calls and emails from as far away as Alaska and Texas, from Florida to Maine” urging her to get into the political fray.
As for her qualifications, the charismatic Benzel said she considers herself “OVERqualified,” telling The Blast, “I have a unique and incredible historical perspective from analyzing both United States foreign and domestic policy for the last 30 years.”
As The Daily Wire reported, Benzel’s simple challenge to students to talk to consider for themselves and talk to their parents about the ramifications of the school officially endorsing and helping to promote and facilitate the walkout resulted in her two-day suspension. It also inspired one of her students to test the school to see if it indeed had a “double standard” when it comes to politically charged events by formally requesting that the school similarly endorse a Walkout For Life. As Benzel suspected it would, the school refused to back the pro-life event, though it did not punish students who participated.