On Monday, Democrat Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a leading contender to challenge GOP governor Ron DeSantis in 2022, claimed in a radio interview that DeSantis was seeking a “race war and a cultural war” because he has staunchly opposed the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools.
Fried was speaking on WJCT-FM’s “First Coast Connect” about the Florida Board of Education deciding to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools when she stated, “This is another opportunity for the governor to create a race war and cultural war, inside of our state.”
“I want everybody to rest assured,” she boasted. “First of all, critical race theory is the new bogeyman of the Republican Party. It’s not something that’s taught in the state of Florida. But we need to let our teachers do their jobs and that’s teach. This governor and this Board of Education who (sic) is, again, appointed solely by Republican governors like Ron DeSantis and the previous governor as well, it is not their job to tell our teachers how to — sure, there’s parameters (and) policies, but this is a time when they have overstepped once again, government is stepping in to the job of educating, and not the teachers.”
“This is, again, a bogeyman the Governor is pushing out there,” she repeated. “This thought that doesn’t exist, but just again, to put fear into the people’s minds. He did it intentionally, not because there’s a worry about something like this, but to create a culture war in our state. And I know people in our state are smarter than this and aren’t going to fall for this political rhetoric that is being spewed by Ron DeSantis and the Republican Party.”
Republican Governors’ Association spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez blasted Fried, asserting, “Nikki Fried’s accusations against the Governor aren’t just desperate, they’re dangerous. Fried has shown repeatedly that she’s incapable of being truthful about pretty much anything. Her resorting to lies and malicious manipulations on her own liberal biography and views on critical race theory are just more of the same,” Florida Politics reported.
Prior to the Board of Education’s vote, DeSantis had said bluntly, “Next week, I have my Commissioner of Education going to the Board of Education banning it, banning any departure from accurate history and following our standards. This is something we’ve got to stay on the forefront of. “We’re also … not going to support any Republican candidate for school board who supports critical race theory in all 67 counties or supports mandatory masking of schoolchildren. … We are going to get the Florida political apparatus involved so we can make sure there’s not a single school board member, Republican, whoever indulges critical race theory.”
DeSantis had also said previously, “Some of the nonsense that you see in some of these places around the country, I mean, they will attack cops with this type of ideology in schools, and meanwhile, they have like 87% of the kids that aren’t even literate in some of these schools. So it shows you they’re not trying to educate; they’re trying to indoctrinate. We’re not going to let that come to Florida. And so I’m glad that they acted. I think it’s the right thing to do. We’re going to make sure that we’re providing access to education, but solid education, free of some of this ideology that people are trying to shove down everybody’s throats.”