TALLAHASSEE, Florida. The nation’s vice president accused state officials of “gaslighting” Florida schoolchildren on Friday. In a nearly 25-minute speech, Vice President Kamala Harris denounced Florida’s new standards of African American history for public schools with a stop in Jacksonville.
“I said it yesterday,” Harris said. “They insult us in an attempt to gaslight. We won’t tolerate it.”
The last-minute performance comes after the State Board of Education approved Wednesday’s lessons. Officials said the standards had been reviewed by a task force for months and advertised that they taught “the good, the bad and the ugly” of black history.
“If anyone takes the time to study the standards,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said on Wednesday, “you will see that everything is covered.”
A flurry of controversy followed. Critics believe that there are omissions, and especially disagree with the part of the state summary on page 71 regarding instructions on “how slaves developed skills that in some cases could be used for their personal gain.”
Harris called the standards “outrageous” and urged listeners to resist what she saw as propaganda.
“Low, targeted and deliberate policy to mislead our children,” Harris said. “Let’s be clear – teachers want to teach the truth.”
Political pundits, meanwhile, said Harris’ visit also fuels the fire for 2024. Professor Sean Foreman believes the White House is demonstrating that Florida has not been forgotten despite the party’s major defeats during last year’s 2022 midterm elections.
“Harris’ visit is a good sign for Florida Democrats, who have been looking for any signal that the National Democrats have not abandoned them,” Barry University political science professor Sean Foreman said.
Republicans were quick to condemn the visit. Governor Ron DeSantis said in tweet that criticism of the Biden administration was a lie to “cover up their student indoctrination program…”
Christian Ziegler, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said the White House should focus on securing southern border.
“Our frontier is millions just flowing,” Ziegler said. “In fact, she is a border king. Instead of doing her job, she jumps on the first flight she can get to Florida…”
Friday’s trip to Florida was Harris’ eighth since being sworn in. If the National Democrats are serious about reclaiming the swing state in 2024, Florida will likely see more of the vice president in the coming months as the election approaches.