Saying, “Republicans are lying,” a White House spokeswoman Thursday insisted American school kids should learn about critical race theory.
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre hurled the accusation at the GOP accusing the president’s opposition party of “lying” about issues in public education and “trying to use our kids as a political football.”
In the first White House briefing since Republican Glenn Youngkin’s stunning victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election — in large part due to discontent over school closures, mask mandates, and the addition of critical race theory to curricula — Jean-Pierre insisted that Americans “have to be honest with themselves about the history which is good and the bad, and our kids should be proud to be Americans after learning that history.”
Jean-Pierre added that “we believe a school’s curriculum isn’t a federal decision. It’s rightly up to communities around the country — the parents, the school, the school board, the teachers — and that means politicians should not be dictating what our kids are being taught”, an apparent response to Youngkin’s campaign vow to outlaw the teaching of critical race theory on day one of his administration.
Critical race theory espouses that America’s laws and governing system are designed to uphold white supremacy. Its reach had been largely limited to universities and law schools, but far-left activists have pushed for its expansion into K-12 schools following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last year.
“We also need to be honest here about what’s going on here,” Jean-Pierre said. “Republicans are lying. They’re not being honest. They’re not being truthful about where we stand, and they’re cynically trying to use our kids as a political football. They’re talking about our kids when it’s when it’s election season, but they won’t vote for them when it matters.”
The spokesperson went on to cite Republican votes against the American Rescue Plan, which was enacted in March of this year.
“It had funding to make sure that schools were open to make sure that our kids got back to school, and they didn’t vote for [it],” she said. “We know how important it is to make sure that our kids have in person learning for their mental well being and also so that they can actually learn and so that is something that the Republicans refused, absolutely refused, to vote for. So we got to be honest here and they’re not being honest or being incredibly dishonest.”
Later in the briefing, Jean-Pierre called on American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan, who told the press secretary that “in part he [Youngkin] did win because of critical race theory, and … many Republicans, many Republican strategists, are saying that this was a successful strategy, and they are intending to use it in other elections and campaigns.
“As president, as the head of the party, how does he plan to combat this?” asked Ryan, referring to President Biden. “We saw Donald Trump won with misinformation and lack of truth. You talk about facts and truth. How does this administration plan to go against that — combat against that?”
Accepting the premise of Ryan’s question, Jean-Pierre responded that Biden “ran on bringing Americans together. He ran on respecting the fundamental human dignity of every person, and that means addressing barriers that are holding Americans back and it means people should be treated equally and judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. And so that is something that the president truly believes.”
Ryan then referenced comments made by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month about critical race theory. She claimed that Rice had “talked about not wanting to hurt white people, white children because of facts, critical race theory.”
“Facts, truth hurts sometimes,” the reporter snarked.
In fact, Ryan had taken Rice’s remarks on the Oct. 20 edition of “The View” out of context.
“One of the worries that I have about the way that we’re talking about race is that it either seems so big that somehow white people now have to feel guilty for everything that happened in the past – I don’t think that’s very productive – or black people have to feel disempowered by race,” the former top US diplomat said. “I would like black kids to be completely empowered, to know that they are beautiful in their blackness, but in order to do that I don’t have to make white kids feel bad for being white.”
In response to Ryan, Jean-Pierre reiterated: “America is a great country, and in order to be a great country, you have to be honest with themselves about this country, the good and the bad.
“That is important and that is critical and he [Biden] believes that our kids should be proud to be Americans after learning that history … we should be honest as we publicly debate these issues and as we move forward as a nation.”