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Jean-Pierre faces blowback for ‘disprovable lies’ about Florida education law: ‘Red herrings all the way down’

4 min read

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was blasted on social media for calling Florida’s education law “dystopian,” claiming gay teachers cannot show pictures of their spouses anymore.

Prior to answering questions at Thursday’s press conference, Jean-Pierre addressed the Florida Board of Education’s recent expansion of Gov. Ron DeSantis’, R-Fla., Parental Rights in Education law from kindergarten through 3rd grade to all grades. This law would prevent school employees from giving instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” unless required by state guidelines or part of optional sexual health instruction. 

Jean-Pierre referred to this law as the “dystopian Don’t Say Gay law” and claimed that gay teachers have been forced to remove pictures of their spouses as a response.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre takes reporters questions

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“I also want to say a word about the decision yesterday made by the Florida Board of Education to expand the state’s dystopian Don’t Say Gay law. As this measure takes effect, it will prohibit all students up to seniors in high school from learning about our, or, learning about or even discussing LGBTQI+ people in the classrooms,” Jean-Pierre said.

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She continued, “Teachers in Florida have already faced the devastating consequences of the existing law. Under threat of having their licenses revoked, gay teachers have been forced to take down pictures of their spouses from their desks and censor their classroom materials. Censoring our classes is not how public education is supposed to work in a free country. Conservative politicians love to complain about the so-called cancel culture, all while threatening teachers with losing their jobs if they teach something that the MAGA extremists don’t agree with.”

This description of the law faced pushback on Twitter as “disprovable lies.” 

Pro-LGBTQ protester

Opposition Democrats and LGBTQ rights activists have lobbied against what they call the “Don’t Say Gay” law. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Political consultant Noah Pollak wrote, “All of her claims here are easily disprovable lies, but what’s interesting is how progressives are unable to defend their culture war on anything close to the merits. It’s red herrings all the way down.”

“The fact that the press secretary lies daily doesn’t seem to bother liberals,” National Review contributor Pradheep Shanker exclaimed.

“This is, of course, a lie,” Substack writer Jim Treacher wrote.

“Putting aside that this is just not true, does anyone over 40 remember discussing sexuality, gender or any of this stuff with their teachers growing up? It’s laughably ridiculous. Back in my day we did math, science and social studies. You know, old fashioned racist stuff. And we had to walk up hill in the snow both ways without shoes to get to school. Now get off my lawn!” political commentator Dave Rubin tweeted.

“Remember WH Press Briefing live all hands on deck fact checks? I ‘member,” The Spectator contributing editor Stephen Miller commented.

NewsNation reporter Zaid Jilani wrote, “There’s a reasonable debate to be had about what should and shouldn’t be promoted in public schools, but it feels like a lot of these debates are based on things that don’t exist?”

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Since the law was introduced in 2022, Democrats and members of the media have dubbed it as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, claiming that the law censors any discussion of being gay in schools.

DeSantis has shot back at media critics of the law for mischaracterizing the law.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gives a political speech

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attacked media critics for “mischaracterizing” the Parental Rights in Education bill. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

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“I would argue it’s never appropriate to be telling a school kid that they were born in the wrong body,” DeSantis said on Fox Nation. “I didn’t think that it was going to end up what it was, and I was just in a situation where I’m like, you know, this is not a good hill for you guys to pick to die on… What we did is we leaned into it. We called out the media when they were mischaracterizing it, so we made sure that we stood up for the folks.”

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