Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Esther Byrd to the state’s Board of Education, a move that will almost certainly serve to further politicize that appointed panel.
A former Marine, Mrs. Byrd is currently the legal assistant and office manager for the Law Office of Cord Byrd, P.A.
Byrd is the wife of Rep. Cord Byrd of Neptune Beach. Rep. Byrd, the incumbent in the current HD 11, is one of the House Republicans who sided with the Governor by voting against redistricting maps preserving a minority-access district in North Florida.
“I am excited for the opportunity to serve the students and families of Florida on the Board of Education,” Mrs. Byrd said in a March 14 statement released through the conservative parent group Moms for Liberty.
“Parents are extremely frustrated with being cut off from the decision-making process on issues impacting their children. I will work to amplify their voices, address their concerns, and fight to put children first.”
Esther Byrd is perhaps best known not for her biographical details, but for her staunch advocacy during the Donald Trump administration on behalf of far-right elements.
After the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots, Mrs. Byrd offered a defense of those “peacefully protesting” the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election while alluding to “coming civil wars.”
“ANTIFA and BLM can burn and loot buildings and violently attack police and citizens,” Byrd wrote on her personal Facebook page. “But when Trump supporters peacefully protest, suddenly ‘Law and Order’ is all they can talk about! I can’t even listen to these idiots bellyaching about solving our differences without violence.”
Those comments came after another incendiary post.
“In the coming civil wars (We the People vs the Radical Left and We the People cleaning up the Republican Party), team rosters are being filled,” mused Byrd. “Every elected official in DC will pick one. There are only 2 teams… With Us [or] Against Us.”
“We the People will NOT forget!” wrote the person who now sets policy for Florida’s education system
Rep. Byrd won re-election handily in 2020, but during that campaign, his spouse’s comments that catered to the fringe elements in the GOP came to the fore.
In October, Mrs. Byrd offered an unsolicited defense of the Proud Boys, a group of youngish men who bill themselves as “western chauvinists.”
Trump infamously urged them to “stand back and stand by” when pressed to condemn the alt-right movement.
Mrs. Byrd, a staunch supporter of the former president, subsequently claimed that many of them and their supporters have been thrown in “FB Jail,” a metaphorical lockdown preventing them from posting to Facebook for some period of time.
“Why do you think Facebook is throwing people in FB Jail who share information about Proud Boys? (Side note: I must really have great friends cause a whole bunch have been locked up! ) I think it’s because they’ve seen a drastic spike in searches and they are worried that people are educating themselves rather than blindly believing what MSM narrative. Anyone have a better theory?”
Those statements came months after Byrd made comments supportive of QAnon after the couple was photographed on a boat flying a QAnon flag.
Mrs. Byrd asserted on Facebook contemporaneously that the Byrds were in the photograph.
For his part, the Representative claims that his wife shouldn’t be read too literally.
“People use hyperbole all the time,” Byrd told WJXT last year. “The Speaker of the House has said, and I quote, ‘I just don’t know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country.’”
Asked to clarify that statement, Byrd said “people talk about civil wars in the Republican Party.”
“There are factions. People believe different things. It was a figure of speech and that’s how it was intended.”
Byrd’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.