Vice President Kamala Harris rejected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ offer to debate the state’s history curriculum after Harris claimed the state was obfuscating the horrors of slavery.
Speaking in Orlando, Florida, at the 20th Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Quadrennial Convention, Harris dismissed the governor’s offer to set the record straight on Florida’s history education.
“They attempt to legitimize these unnecessary debates with a proposal that most recently came in of a politically motivated roundtable,” Harris said in the Tuesday speech.
She continued, “Well, I’m here in Florida, and I will tell you there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact. There were no redeeming qualities of slavery.”
DeSantis invited Vice President Harris to discuss Florida’s new educational curriculum after the vice president claimed Florida classrooms would downplay the negative impacts of slavery.
A component of the new instruction on Black history — which discusses “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit” — has been a point of contention among its critics.
In a letter sent Monday, DeSantis, who is seeking his party’s nomination in the 2024 presidential election, touted Florida as the “number one state in the nation for education” and argued he was making record investments in students, teachers and schools.
“We are committed to teaching truth, not partisan narratives,” DeSantis wrote, promoting the school choice program. “We have rooted out hateful Marxist theories like ‘Critical Race Theory’ from our classrooms. We have eliminated ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ initiatives in school administration and hiring practices. We have, instead, focused on the basics of reading, writing, arithmetic, science, civics and history.”
DeSantis said politicians in Washington, D.C., have chosen to “malign our state and its residents.” He added that over the past several weeks, the Biden administration has repeatedly “disparaged” the state of Florida and misinformed Americans about its education system.
“[Harris] came to Florida to attack us, and she’s trying to attack me,” DeSantis said Tuesday as he answered a question from Fox News Digital. “But she’s really attacking the people that worked hard on this and have done a lot of yeoman’s work. And so that’s just wrong. I think it’s wrong to let lies be perpetuated. It’s wrong to let false narratives stand.”
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
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