Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland at the end of the week.
McConnell asked Garland to make clear what his recent document on “bullying” and “harassment” of school authorities by parental figures implies, such as whether recall vote efforts constitute bullying that should be fully investigated.
McConnell Slams the Administration
The letter comes after days of uproar over the attorney general’s memo. This memo came only moments after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent President Biden a memorandum claiming some verbal conflicts between school boards and families may be considered “domestic terrorism.”
According to Garland’s letter, the FBI should lead a working group to deal with threats targeting school authorities, which should include establishing a centralized manner to report such attacks.
🚨Joe Biden is weaponizing his DOJ and using the FBI to pursue parents advocating for their kids at school board meetings. It’s meant to quell dissent and intimidate. It’s dangerous and they have no jurisdiction.
Not in Missouri. Not in any state.
My letter to the AG 👇 pic.twitter.com/hfXmJnjDEK
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) October 5, 2021
“You authorized federal officers to work with local and state governments to handle violent threats, and other types of coercion and intimidation of school executives, members of the board, educators, and employees in public schools,” wrote McConnell.
“The memo claims to be in response to a ‘disturbing surge’ of harassment and threats directed towards these individuals; yet, it makes no mention of the alleged offenders or any genuine justifications for this action.”
“The scary hyperbole in your letter does not represent the reality of what we have seen at school boards around the country in recent months,” McConnell added.
McConnell isn’t the Only One Speaking Out
The GOP leader isn’t the first conservative elected figure to criticize Garland for his letter’s timeliness and tone. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said previously this week that Garland’s memo appeared to be a smear campaign against detractors of critical race theory.
Meanwhile, Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck termed Garland’s memo a “politically driven abuse of authority.”
Attorney General Garland should spend more time prosecuting actual criminals instead of investigating concerned parents at school board meetings.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 7, 2021
The fact that the Senate’s top Republican is speaking out shows many things. It shows the GOP isn’t going to let this matter go away. Furthermore, Justice Department employees testifying before Congress can expect to be grilled on critical race theory and this letter for quite some period.
In the letter, McConnell continues to denounce all forms of violence, threats of violence, and other illegal activity, particularly the few occasions this year that police had to intervene to calm rowdy parents at public meetings.
However, according to McConnell, police officers should not be required to monitor the broad reaction over critical race theory. “Parents should undoubtedly have a say in what their children are taught in their local public schools. This is the fundamental principle of representative democracy.”
According to McConnell, “[Parents] do this during elections and while asking their government for a redress of grievances, as protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is freedom, not intimidation, to tell elected leaders that they are incorrect.”