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Josh Hawley Torches Biden DOJ for Assault on American Parents

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

During a hearing on Tuesday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) lit up the Biden administration's latest attempt to tamp down political opposition via an announced plan to go after parents who oppose Democrats' radical curricula and mandates related to the Wuhan coronavirus.

As Townhall covered earlier on Tuesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a memo to the FBI and United States attorneys calling on coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement to stop alleged harassment and intimidation of education officials who seek to institutionalize critical race theory and prohibit parents from making healthcare decisions for their children.

While Biden's Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco testified before the Senate, Hawley pressed her on the motivation behind and eventual implementation of the Justice Department's new offensive against parents.

Calling Garland's memo "extraordinary," Hawley pointed out "practically every day brings new reports about this administration weaponizing the federal bureaucracy to go after political opponents, frankly I don't think we've ever seen anything like it in American history. For those of us who miss the McCarthy era, I guess this president is intent on bringing it to us but with new force and new power and new urgency unlike anything we've ever seen."

When Hawley asked Monaco if she was"aware of any time in American history when an attorney general has directed the FBI to begin to intervene in local school board meetings?" Biden's deputy attorney general said she was "not aware" of similar actions taken previously but insisted "that's not going on." 

"Is parents waiting sometimes for hours to speak at a local school board meeting to express concerns about critical race theory or the masking of their students — particularly young children — is that in and of itself, is that harassment and intimidation? Is waiting to express one's view at a school board meeting harassment and intimidation?" Hawley pressed.

"As the attorney general's memorandum made quite clear, spirited debate is welcome, is a hallmark of this country, it's something we should all engage in," Monaco responded before Hawley pointed out the DOJ memo "doesn't define those terms, nor does it define harassment or intimidation."

"It talks about violence, I think we can agree that violence shouldn't be condoned, or looked aside from, in any way swept under the rug at all. But harassment and intimidation, what do those terms mean in the context of a local school board meeting," asked Hawley seeking clarification. "In First Amendment context we talk about the 'chill,' the 'chill to speech.' If this isn't a deliberate attempt to chill parents from showing up at school board meetings for their elected school boards, I don't know what is. I'm not aware of anything like this in American history. We're talking about the FBI — you're using the FBI to intervene in school board meetings," he added.

"This is unprecedented," Hawley reiterated of the Biden administration's action against parents. "You can't point to a single instance where anything like this has happened before and I think parents across this country are going to be stunned to learn, stunned, that if they show up at a local school board meeting... you are attempting to intimidate them. You are attempting to silence them. You are attempting to interfere with their rights as parents and yes, with their rights as voters. This is wrong, this is dangerous, and I cannot believe that an Attorney General of the United States is engaging in this kind of conduct. Frankly I can't believe that you are sitting here today defending it," Hawley said.

"I intend to get answers to these questions," he told Monaco. "You won't answer my questions. I'm going to get answers," he pledged, calling for a Senate hearing on Garland's memo and its ramifications. 

"We need to hear from the Attorney General himself. He needs to come here, take the oath, sit there, and answer questions. We have never seen anything like this before in our country's history and frankly, I want to say, I think it is dangerous, dangerous precedent."

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