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Kamala Responds To DeSantis Invite

Gov. Ron DeSantis extended an invitation to Vice President Kamala Harris to visit Florida and discuss the state’s new Black history curriculum after Harris delivered remarks there last week blasting the standards as suggesting that enslaved people benefited from skills used in forced labor.

In a letter to the vice president, the Republican governor wrote that “given your grave concern (which, I must assume, is sincere) about what you think our standards say, I am officially inviting you back down to Florida to discuss our African American History standards.”

Harris, who last month flew to Orlando to deliver remarks at the 20th Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Quadrennial Convention, quickly rejected DeSantis’ invitation Tuesday and said that “there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation” they will accept to debate an “undeniable fact” that there were no redeeming qualities of slavery.

The vice president’s trip was first reported by NBC News.

DeSantis’ invitation comes after the Biden administration’s criticism of Florida’s new approach to Black history in a 216-page document, which Harris recently argued wants to “replace history with lies” and wants to “push propaganda to our children.”

The governor, however, has dismissed Harris’ remarks and defended the state’s revamped standards as “nation-leading” and “rigorous and comprehensive.” DeSantis also accused the White House of attempting to score “cheap political points.”

The governor’s defense of the standards has been met with a strong backlash from prominent Republican lawmakers, including Rep. John James of Michigan, who tweeted his disapproval, and Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, who called on the state Education Department to “correct” its new standards. Both James and Donalds are supporting former President Donald Trump in the 2024 primary.

In response to Harris’ comments last week, DeSantis said that Florida is unafraid of an “open and honest dialogue” about the issue, and invited her to Tallahassee to “set the record straight.”

“One would think the White House would applaud such boldness in teaching the unique and important story of African American History,” he said.

The governor also invited William Allen a member of Florida’s African American History Standards Workgroup, who was available to meet beginning Wednesday.

Despite the strong criticism, DeSantis has not backed down or expressed any intention to change the curriculum requirements. Only time will tell if DeSantis and Harris will be able to find a compromise, but meantime it is clear that the two have sharply opposed views on the subject.

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