GOP presidential candidate and Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott chastised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Thursday over Florida’s newly approved curriculum about the history of slavery.
The new curriculum teaches students that slaves “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” according to Florida’s 2023 State Academic Standards. Scott was deeply critical of the new curriculum during an interview and said he hopes “every person in our country – and certainly running for president – would appreciate” that there were no benefits to slavery.
“There is no silver lining in slavery. Slavery was really about separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives,” Scott said during an interview. “It was just devastating. So, I would hope that every person in our country – and certainly running for president – would appreciate that.”
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DeSantis has defended Flroida’s new history standards and told reporters last Friday he agreed with the concept that slaves “eventually parlayed” skills they learned into careers later in life.
Florida’s new curriculum is also reflected in the progressively-lauded 2023 AP African American history standards released by the College Board, which teaches that slaves “learned specialized trades and worked as painters, carpenters, tailors, musicians, and healers” and “used these skills to provide for themselves and others.”
Scott said that DeSantis might “regret” his defense of Florida’s new history standards.
“Listen, people have bad days,” Scott noted. “Sometimes they regret what they say. And we should ask them again to clarify their positions.”
DeSantis previously responded to criticism from Republican Florida Rep. Byron Donalds on Thursday, who called the standards “wrong” for teaching about the personal benefits of slavery and said he had faith the Florida Department of Education would intervene.
“So at the end of the day, you’ve got to choose,” DeSantis said on Thursday. “Are you going to side with Kamala Harris and liberal media outlets, or are you going to side with the state of Florida?”
DeSantis and Scott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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