McAuliffe claims ‘everybody clapped’ after classroom comment

McAuliffe claims ‘everybody clapped’ after classroom comment

After weeks of criticism from parents and Republican lawmakers, Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe claimed his comment during a gubernatorial debate saying parents shouldn’t tell schools what to teach their children was met with applause. 

During an appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday, McAuliffe was pressed on what he said in the September debate, where he said “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

McAuliffe’s comment came during a discussion on parents objecting to politicized or explicit books, such as “Beloved” written by the late Toni Morrison. 

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said.

The former Virginia governor defended the comment Sunday, saying “Everybody clapped when I said it.”

“Meet the Press” Host Chuck Todd pressed further, noting that many parents protesting the curriculum only want notifications from school personnel rather than ordering teachers what to teach. 

“They would say, ‘This is not about banning a book. This is about informing parents that a book may have some material not all parents would be crazy about, we should let you know that your kid is going to be dealing with this material.’ Is that out of bounds?,” Todd asked.

“That’s not out of bounds. If you look at what the bill would be — ultimately it would’ve led to books being removed from our classrooms,” McAuliffe responded, referencing a bipartisan bill he voted during his tenure as governor that would have given parents the opportunity and right to let their children opt out of sexually explicit readings.

McAuliffe claimed in a debate with Youngkin that he doesn't "think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
McAuliffe claimed in a debate with Youngkin that he doesn’t “think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
AP Photo/Steve Helber, File

Republican candidate Greg Youngkin has benefited from his opponent’s September comments and has gained the support of many parents in the state. 

Last week, Youngkin released an ad featuring a Fairfax County mother who in 2013 waged a legal battle against “Beloved” after her son shared excerpts of the novel with her when he was a senior in high school — her battle eventually led to the bipartisan bill. 

“He doesn’t think parents should have a say. He said that. He shut us out,” the mother said in the ad.

“Beloved,” written by the late Toni Morrison in 1987, tells the story of a family of former slaves and features explicit scenes of bestiality, sex, violence and infanticide. It has been assigned to juniors and seniors in some advanced placement literature classes in high school. 

Youngkin shared the video on Twitter with an accompanying post that said, “What’s it like to have Terry McAuliffe block you from having a say in your child’s education? This mom knows — she lived through it. Watch her powerful story. #VAgov

McAuliffe has since slammed Youngkin’s concern over “Beloved” and other similar curriculum as a “racist dog whistle.” 

“In the final week of this race, Glenn Youngkin has doubled down on the same divisive culture wars that have fueled his campaign from the very beginning,” he said in a written statement.

“Youngkin’s closing message of book banning and silencing esteemed Black authors is a racist dog whistle designed to gin up support from the most extreme elements of his party — mainly his top endorser and surrogate, Donald Trump.”

Trump voiced his support for Youngkin Monday morning, one day before the governor election. 

Youngkin has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump ahead of the election.
Youngkin has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump ahead of the election.
Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“Youngkin is a good man, a hardworking man, a successful man. He loves Virginia and wants to cut your taxes, save your children’s education, and many other very good things. Terry McAuliffe is a low-life politician who lies, cheats, and steals,” Trump said.

With election day only hours away, the race between the two candidates remains extremely tight, with only a two percentage point difference.

Youngkin leads McCauliffe by two points 47 percent to 45 percent according to a Fox 5/Insider Advantage poll released Monday.

Last week, a Fox News survey found Youngkin ahead by eight percentage points – 53 percent to 45 percent – over McCauliffe.

Earlier polls gave McAuliffe a slight advantage Virginia, but they have fallen off just as President Biden’s favorability ratings have dropped.

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