White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that a Florida bill banning classroom instruction on gender identity and sexuality from pre-K through third grade is “a form of bullying.”
President Joe Biden’s top spokesperson made the comments after the Florida state Senate passed the Parental Rights in Education bill, which has been dubbed by leftists the “don’t say gay” legislation, despite the fact the law contains no such ban.
“A bill like this, that would discriminate against families, against kids, put these kids in the position of not getting the support they need at a time where that’s exactly what they need — it’s discriminatory,” Psaki claimed. “It’s a form of bullying. It is horrific. I mean, the president has spoken to that.”
The press secretary offered her remarks after a dogged reporter asked her about Biden’s own record on the issue.
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“In 1994, when many of us were in school, President Biden actually voted for a much broader restriction that banned federal funds from being used for ‘the promotion of homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative,'” the reporter stated. “Why did he do that? And can you explain how his thinking has evolved over the years?”
The reporter was referring to an amendment to the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1993, which stated: “To prohibit federal funds for instructional materials, instruction, counseling, or other services on school grounds, from being used for the promotion of homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative.”
Biden, a U.S. senator at the time, voted in favor of the amendment, according to the congressional record.
Psaki, for her part, sidestepped answering the question, telling the journalist it is “important to note how outspoken the president has been against discrimination, against kids, against members of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
“What we’re looking at here is a bill that would propagate misinformed, hateful policies and impact children,” she continued. “So that’s the question I hope — maybe you can pose that to some of the leaders in Florida. Maybe they’ll return your phone calls, and I’ll look forward to having that conversation.”
She also directed her ire toward lawmakers in Florida, whom she said passed the bill because they are “mean.”
“I think the most important question now is why are Florida leaders deciding they need to discriminate against kids who are members of the LGBTQI community?” she asked. “What prompts them to do that? Is it meanness? Is it wanting to make kids have a more difficult time in school, in their communities? I would pose that question to them and we can talk about it more tomorrow if you get an answer.”
Psaki, it should be noted, failed to address Biden’s record directly.
Christina Pushaw, spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), pushed back against Psaki’s statements, telling the White House official, “The word ‘gay’ does not appear in the parental rights bill. It has nothing to do with LGBT content specifically; it’s about protecting young children from ALL inappropriate sexual content and gender theory instruction. It is the sole right of the parents to discuss those topics.”
Additionally, DeSantis himself addressed the baseless talking point Tuesday.
WFLA-TV reporter Evan Donavan asked the governor if he supports what leftists have called the “don’t say gay bill.”
“Does it say that in the bill?” DeSantis interjected before the reporter finished his question.
“I know that you support—,” Donavan continued before being interrupted by the Republican governor once more, again asking the journalist: “Does it say that in the bill?”
“I’m asking—,” the local reporter tried again before DeSantis said: “I’m asking you to tell me what’s in the bill, because you are pushing false narratives. It doesn’t matter what critics say.”
“It bans classroom instruction on sexual identity and gender orientation,” Donovan pressed.
“For who?” DeSantis asked yet again. “For grades pre-K through three. So five-year-olds, six-year-olds, seven-year-olds — and the idea that you wouldn’t be honest about that and tell people what it actually says, it’s why people don’t trust people like you, because you peddle false narratives.”
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