Gov. Ron DeSantis stuck to a largely economic message during his only formal speech Wednesday, but couldn’t resist discussing the state’s education agenda — and the Vice President who opposes it.
DeSantis, addressing the American Legislative Executive Council conference in Orlando, claimed Kamala Harris couldn’t handle “honest history” when it came to how Florida approaches the Black experience, specifically slavery.
“We are teaching the honest history — good, bad and ugly — teaching all the injustices with respect to slavery and a whole bunch of other things that happened. But that’s not good enough for them,” DeSantis said, defending a 216-page set of guidelines approved by a Florida Department of Education task force last week.
He condemned “people like Kamala Harris” for “trying to perpetuate a hoax saying that these African American history scholars, many of whom were Black, some of them who descended from slaves, are creating a curriculum saying it was good.”
Harris objected to language in the standards that claimed slavery benefited enslaved people by teaching them skills, saying the DeSantis administration was trying to “gaslight” Black people about the horrors of slavery.
“Are you kidding me? Who believes such nonsense? And so it’s a total hoax,” DeSantis said.
“Why are they doing that? Why would they come down, when you have all these other problems, come down to Florida and lie about something that’s readily checkable?”
DeSantis added, “They know in Florida we are contesting their right to use the schools to advance their agenda.”
During the speech, the Governor also touched on changes at the state’s public honors institution of higher learning, New College of Florida, arguing the professors leaving the school given the Governor’s moves to turn it into a crucible of conservatism won’t be missed.
“We’ve seen a flood of applications coming,” DeSantis said. “You know, the media will say, ‘Oh, some of these professors are leaving, like, New College. Like, isn’t that bad? Is that a brain drain?'”
The Governor answered his own question.
“Well, you know, if you’re a professor in, like, you know, Marxist studies, that’s not a loss for Florida if you’re going on. Trust me, I’m totally good with that.”