School boards and county commission boards across the country have seen an influx of deranged community members peddling delusional conspiracy theories and even threatening violence in protest of mask mandates in schools and hysteria over critical race theory.
One woman in Kansas said at a county commissioners meeting that members would be "tried for crimes against humanity" for mandating masks in schools, absurdly claiming there was "zero evidence that COVID-19 exists in the world." In Pennsylvania, a GOP gubernatorial candidate vowed to storm school boards with "20 strong men" in order to "remove" them from their posts. In Virginia, a school board meeting was declared an unlawful assembly after attendees grew increasingly belligerent.
These are but a few instances in an overwhelming pattern of intimidation and menacing toward school board members, and this week, the Department of Justice announced that it would be investigating violent threats against school board members.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said:
"Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety."
Given that he raised his fist in solidarity with Trump supporters just hours before they stormed the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection, it may not come as a surprise that far-right Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri is now vocally opposed to the Justice Department's effort to suppress violent threats against public servants.
Hawley put his hysteria over critical race theory on full display, saying to the Department:
"All around the country, Americans are speaking out against the radical racist ideology sometimes called 'critical race theory.' Americans have responded to this radical ideology by winning elections for local school boards and protesting peacefully at school board meetings. Yet your memo yesterday to the FBI and local U.S. Attorneys ignored all of this and warned of an insurgence of 'threats of violence' and 'efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.'"
Now, a new supercut from MSNBC's Chris Hayes highlights the rampant right-wing intimidation on display at school board meetings, countering Hawley's claim that these threats of violence are overblown.
Hey @HawleyMO, just circling back to see if you saw the threats to school officials across the country. We made a m… https://t.co/Om3SaOQsIq— All In with Chris Hayes (@All In with Chris Hayes) 1633482245.0
Interspersed with Hawley's comments at a recent Senate committee hearing invoking images of DOJ targeting peaceful parents politely expressing their views, the supercut showed clip after clip of the opposite.
For one example, a community member said to a school board official:
"We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you and we know who you are."
Hawley painted DOJ's efforts as a "deliberate attempt to chill parents from showing up at school board meetings," accusing the Justice Department of attempting to "intimidate" and "silence" them.
The video showed that was the other way around.
Watch. Retweet. When there’s no accountability for those who encouraged and supporting a mob that attacked our Capi… https://t.co/o2gPY0UAn5— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sherrilyn Ifill) 1633521426.0
Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) is a dishonest, disingenuous demagogue who consistently places his own opportunism above th… https://t.co/MVQ3ACpcru— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin) 1633526559.0
Shorter Josh Hawley: If we can't have widespread threats of violence against school administrators none of us can t… https://t.co/uUYNDBsfQu— Josh Marshall (@Josh Marshall) 1633547055.0
Whether you’re making death threats at school board meetings or in the Capitol Rotunda, Josh Hawley will pretend yo… https://t.co/MZP5PVFqFZ— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@Mrs. Betty Bowers) 1633530081.0
A liar, hypocrite & Traitor the Essenes of a Trump Q Republican Troll. https://t.co/7lGj6kCXJT— jespanol (@jespanol) 1633518460.0
Nor had people forgotten about his ideological support for the Capitol rioters.
Josh Hawley objected to Congress's certification of 2020 election after domestic terrorists failed to stop the coun… https://t.co/qCA54fkRkM— Sarah Reese Jones (@Sarah Reese Jones) 1633542194.0
The thing about @HawleyMO is that he doesn’t not know the violence exists he knows and he welcomes it. We saw that… https://t.co/SYf0wyvx2q— Danny Stark (@Danny Stark) 1633545839.0
Why isn’t traitor @HawleyMO in jail for leading an insurrection? I’ll never forget that raised fist in solidarity w… https://t.co/Ign9WUHSfA— Wendi (@Wendi) 1633537468.0