At the Western Governors Association Winter Meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was caught on camera making a major blunder when discussing the role of the federal government in education. In a moment that quickly circulated on social media, Cardona misquoted former President Ronald Reagan's famous phrase about the government's impact on Americans' daily lives.
"As, I think it was President Reagan said, ‘We’re from the government. We're here to help,'" Cardona stated during his speech. He continued to discuss the government's partnership with state governors on funding priorities in education, but his misquote was quickly picked up by the audience and online viewers.
The original quote by Reagan, first uttered during a news conference on Aug. 12, 1986, was, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." This oft-cited phrase refers to the government's tendency to be inefficient and cause harm instead of truly providing assistance.
According to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, the former president's words expressed the need for a smaller government where individuals and organizations could complete tasks more effectively than the government as a whole. This is a sharp contrast to the point Cardona appeared to be making with his misquote.
This guy should be in charge of educating America's children. Oh wait. https://t.co/NjEFw8Lqhs
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 27, 2023
Many took to social media to criticize Cardona for his mistake, with some accusing him of not understanding the true role of government. Others pointed out the irony of a high-ranking government official misquoting Reagan, a staunch advocate for limited government.
Reactions to Cardona's blunder varied, but one thing was clear: his misquote struck a chord with many. Some saw it as a telling sign of the current administration's approach to government, while others saw it as a simple mistake that could happen to anyone.
Despite the controversy, Cardona continued with his speech, highlighting the importance of collaboration between the federal government and state governors in education. He acknowledged the challenges faced by the education system during the pandemic and emphasized the need for unity to overcome them.
As Education Secretary, Cardona has a significant role in shaping education policies and overseeing the distribution of federal funding to schools. His misquote of Reagan's famous phrase sparked a broader conversation about the government's role in education and society as a whole.
In the end, Cardona's misquote may have been a simple mistake, but it brought attention to a larger issue: the ongoing debate over the appropriate size and role of the government. And as the Biden administration continues to push for expanded government programs and initiatives, it will likely face continued criticism and scrutiny along the way.