Rick Scott clashes with CNN over the teaching of critical race theory: ‘Parents aren’t dumb’

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., clashed with CNN host Brianna Keilar Monday in a fiery exchange over whether or not critical race theory (CRT) was actually being taught in Virginia public schools. 

During an appearance on “New Day,” Scott refuted claims that CRT was not being taught in Virginia schools by pointing to specific examples of its promotion by officials within the state, as Keilar repeated the narrative by many Democrats and media pundits that the controversial subject was not part of the curriculum.

Keilar initiated the debate by asking Scott if Republicans across the country would ignore former President Donald Trump as they campaigned for the 2022 midterm elections, appearing to claim that was part of Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s, R., strategy to victory.

CNN REPORTER REPEATS QUESTIONABLE CLAIM THAT CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS NOT BEING TAUGHT IN VIRGINIA SCHOOLS

“I think what Democrats are going to continue to do is talk about Donald Trump. I think Republicans are going to continue to talk about issues. Glenn Youngkin won his race because he talked about issues and I think that’s what’s going to happen,” Scott said. 

Brianna Keilar and Rick Scott on CNN.

Brianna Keilar and Rick Scott on CNN.
(Screenshot/CNN)

“Terry McAuliffe wanted to say, ‘Oh there was nothing about Critical Race Theory.’ We know it’s true. Parents know their kids are being indoctrinated with critical race theory in Virginia and Democrats wanted to deny it. And so the parents showed up because they don’t like being lied to,” he added. 

Keilar interrupted Scott, declaring that CRT was not in Virginia’s school curriculum. 

“Just to be clear, it’s not in the curriculum in Virginia,” she said, before Scott put on his reading glasses. 

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“Brianna, here, let me just read you a few things. In 2015, while Terry McAuliffe was governor, the Virginia Department of Education promoting incorporating a critical race theory lens in education. You can still find it on the Department of Education’s website. Still there,” Scott retorted. “In February 2019, a superintendent memo to the Virginia Department of Education promoting critical race theory and the idea of White fragility.”

FILE PHOTO: Opponents of an academic doctrine known as Critical Race Theory attend a packed Loudoun County School board meeting until the meeting erupted into chaos and two people were detained, in Ashburn, Virginia, U.S. June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Opponents of an academic doctrine known as Critical Race Theory attend a packed Loudoun County School board meeting until the meeting erupted into chaos and two people were detained, in Ashburn, Virginia, U.S. June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

Keilar attempted to argue back but Scott continued, “I looked at it yesterday. It’s still there, Brianna.”

Keilar seemingly tried to again deny the existence of CRT in school, but Scott continued to push back.

“Brianna, wait a minute, let’s all agree. They were trying to indoctrinate kids, Terry McAuliffe denied it. It’s still on the website. This is happening, and I hope Democrats continue to say it’s not happening, because parents aren’t dumb. They can see it,” he said. 

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“I think parents are smart. My parents didn’t have much of a formal education, but they cared about what I learned. Parents are smart. They know that the Virginia Department of Education promoted critical race theory and Terry McAuliffe said they didn’t,” he added. “I hope Democrats keep doing that all across the country.”

“Fine. It’s not part of the curriculum. I would like to move on with you,” Keilar said, repeating the claim once more before changing the subject.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Angry parents and community members protest after a Loudoun County School Board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down, in Ashburn, Virginia, June 22, 2021. 

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Angry parents and community members protest after a Loudoun County School Board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down, in Ashburn, Virginia, June 22, 2021. 
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo)

Despite Keilar’s claim, there have been a number of well-documented instances of CRT’s promotion within Virginia, including a presentation that appeared to be sponsored by the state’s Department of Education in 2015. 

In 2019, a memo sent by a superintendent promoted CRT and the idea of “White fragility,” while another endorsed “Foundations of Critical Race Theory in Education” as an important tool that can “further spur developments in education.”

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This year, education officials in Loudoun County, Virginia, acknowledged that critical race theory influences their work. It was also revealed that a Virginia school district spent over $30,000 on critical race theory training for administrators.

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