Ron DeSantis addressed critics of his so-called "book bans" at a press conference Wednesday by displaying some of the graphic material the left is pushing on children.
The Florida governor (R), who has made stopping "woke" indoctrination a major policy initiative, played a brief video highlighting pornographic and "Marxist" material that caught the attention of concerned parents.
"Parents, when they're sending their kids to school, they should not have to worry about this garbage being in the schools," DeSantis said.
The "banned" texts, which includes titles like Gender Queer, contained obscene images and instructions on performing sex acts.
Progressives have often attacked DeSantis's anti-woke education initiatives by comparing them to Nazi book burnings. But DeSantis said the left is pushing a "false political narrative" as a pretext to "sexualize" children.
“I think there is a concerted effort to bring some of this sexualization into the classroom, particularly in these young grades," Desantis said. "Even when you’re talking about 12, 13-year-olds, I think most parents would say ‘absolutely not,’" he said.
DeSantis addressed a viral "hoax" from a since-fired substitute schoolteacher who filmed a video of some empty shelves at a library.
"A lot of what’s been going on is an attempt to create a political narrative," he said.
The governor also sought to dispel the "hoax" that he is trying to stop kids from learning about black history. He said he rejected a course because it contained "ideologically driven" lessons on topics like "queer studies."
Florida students are still required to learn about topics like slavery, DeSantis said, and Florida is even expanding what it teaches about black history.
DeSantis drew a distinction between teaching about slavery and assigning "collective guilt" to white students.
"You have somebody in a classroom now, go back 200 years, someone may look like them. They are not responsible, some first grader sitting in the classroom, for that," he said.
DeSantis said his agenda is designed to prevent children from learning that they are superior or inferior because of their race.
"Does anyone think that babies are born racist?" he asked.
The governor has released a new memoir and has been crisscrossing the country, driving speculation that he will soon enter the 2024 presidential race. He is seen as the biggest Republican threat to former President Trump, the current frontrunner in the GOP primary.