Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hit back at 2024 GOP rival South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott on Friday for criticizing the state’s new curriculum about the history of slavery.
DeSantis was asked to respond to the senator’s remarks on the campaign trail in Iowa, and argued that Scott was accepting “false narratives” pushed by Vice President Kamala Harris.
“Part of the reason our country has struggled is because D.C. Republicans all too often accept false narratives, accept lies that are perpetrated by the Left,” said DeSantis. “And to accept the lie that Kamala Harris has been perpetrating even when that has been debunked, that’s not the way you do it. The way you lead is to fight back against the lies, is to speak the truth.”
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“I’m here defending my state of Florida against false accusations and against lies. And we’re going to continue to speak the truth,” DeSantis added.
Though DeSantis has said he was not directly involved in crafting the curriculum, he continues to defend the new standards, and told reporters last Friday that slaves “eventually parlayed” the learned skills later on in life.
“There is no silver lining in slavery. Slavery was really about separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives,” Scott said. “It was just devastating. So, I would hope that every person in our country – and certainly running for president – would appreciate that.”
The curriculum has also come under fire from Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, who has endorsed former President Donald Trump for 2024, as well as the vice president.
Donalds similarly criticized the “personal benefit” part of the curriculum, and asked the Florida Department of Education to correct the language.
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Florida DOE adopted the new African American History standards on July 19, teaching students about the injustices of slavery in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, while also emphasizing learned skills like carpentry, blacksmithing and tailoring.
The curriculum also mirrors some of the College Board’s 2023 AP African American history standards, which states that slaves “learned specialized trades and worked as painters, carpenters, tailors, musicians, and healers” and “used these skills to provide for themselves and others.”
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