On Sunday, embattled Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said that parents should not be picking school books because “we have experts who actually do that.”
McAuliffe’s repeated insistence that parents should be largely left out of the loop on school curriculums have turned the bellwether Virginia governor’s race on its head, with Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin rapidly climbing in the polls on the eve of the election.
McAuliffe made his comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
NBC host Chuck Todd said, “Governor, I want to start with an excerpt from this debate that I was moderating at that had one line clipped out. You said it’s out of context. I want to play the exchange more fully and ask you about it on the other side. Here it is.”
McAuliffe said in a video that Todd played, “Parents had the right to veto books, not to be knowledgeable about it, also take them off the shelves. I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision.”
“So yeah, stopped a bill that I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they teach,” McAuliffe added.
That line has become an albatross for McAuliffe – crystalizing for conservatives and independents the progressive mentality that the government should be in charge and parents should have no say in what their children are learning.
Todd followed up, “Governor, what about that that you feel as if you were taken out of context? Do you feel as if anything you said there should reassure parents that they have some say in their kid’s schooling?”
“Listen, that was about a bill I vetoed which people were very happy that I vetoed the bill, that literally parents could take books out of the curriculum.”
“I love Billy and Jack McAuliffe, my parents, but they should not have been picking my math or science book,” McAullife continued. “We have experts who actually do that. He is closing his campaign on banning books. It’s created a controversy all over the book. He wants to ban Toni Morrison’s book, ‘Beloved.’ He’s going after someone who won a Nobel Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom. He wants her books banned.”
“In all the hundreds of books, you could look at, why the one black female author?” McAuliffe added. “Why did you do it? He’s ending the campaign on a racist dog whistle.”
McAuliffe’s reference to banning “Beloved” centers around a controversy in Virginia that goes back a few years.
Far from “picking math and science books,” some parents wanted the book banned for it’s explicit content – which the Washington Post describes as depicting scenes of “bestiality, gang rape and an infant’s gruesome murder.”
WaPo reports that the book has been a source of controversy for decades.
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