On Sunday, Republican presidential candidate and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie attacked his adversary, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, over his response to the Florida Board of Education’s new standards for teaching African American history in schools.
DeSantis started this fire with the bill he signed, and now he refuses to accept culpability for whatever may occur as a result. Christie stated in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that his discomfort is evident from listening to and observing his remarks.
The new Florida history standards, which the board approved last week, teach students that some African-Americans benefited from slavery because it gave them practical skills. According to NBC South Florida, curriculum updates were mandated by a 2022 law that DeSantis referred to as the “Stop Wrongs To Our Kids and Employees Act,” or “Stop WOKE Act.”
On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris denounced the new standards as an attempt by extremist leaders to disseminate propaganda.
DeSantis responded promptly in a tweet, accusing Harris and other Democrats of lying about the state’s educational standards in order to “cover for their agenda.” In brief remarks to reporters at the Utah State Capitol, he described Harris’ response as “absolutely ridiculous” and “completely outrageous.
When asked to comment on the wording of the board’s curriculum change, DeSantis stated, “I wasn’t involved, and I didn’t do it.”
He continued, referring to enslaved people, “But I think what they’re doing is that they’re probably going to show some of the people who eventually leveraged, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.” “These were academicians who compiled the information. It had nothing to do with political action.”
On Sunday, Christie took aim at DeSantis’ remarks. “‘I didn’t do it’ and ‘I’m not involved’ are not leadership phrases,” he stated. “If this issue was so important to Governor DeSantis, he had four years to address it.
When he decided to run for president and attempt to move to the right of [former President] Donald Trump, he began to prioritize this issue.
“Therefore, I believe the public views this as politically manipulative,” Christie continued.
The DeSantis campaign did not respond to a request for comment immediately.
Christie has frequently attacked DeSantis and other candidates in the early contest for the Republican nomination.
He spent nearly as much time criticizing his opponents as he did extolling his own accomplishments during a nearly two-hour town hall in South Carolina on Friday night, his first appearance in the state since launching his presidential campaign in June.
Christie made pointed barbs at a number of 2024 candidates throughout the event, distancing himself from both President Joe Biden and Donald Trump but also naming DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.