Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) delivered a speech on the Senate floor Monday. He called on Joe Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland to retract the memo he issued to U.S. Attorneys and federal law enforcement agencies to target American parents protesting school board actions as “domestic terrorists.”
Grassley said that Garland’s refusal to retract the directive would have a “chilling effect” on parents’ exercise of rights to assemble and speak protected by the First Amendment. He said that Garland had made an “extraordinary” admission that he instructed the FBI to “get involved” in school board meetings and had no plans of changing his instructions.
The veteran senator said that if there is any need for law enforcement involvement with local government meetings, local law enforcement should be presumed to handle it. He stated that getting the federal law enforcement agencies would only intimidate parents into not speaking out or getting involved in decisions affecting their children’s education. He said that Garland “should withdraw that memo. Make no mistake about it.”
Garland was prompted to issue his memo because of a letter he received last month from the leftist National School Boards Association asking for exact actions taken by Garland. That letter said that federal law enforcement was needed to handle what is called a “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation.” Garland bootstrapped that into his proclamation that there was a “spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats” against government officials and staff associated with school board meetings.
Several state school board associations around the country have since withdrawn their membership in the NSBA. Emails have shown that the NSBA president did not consult with state members or even the NSBA board of directors before sending the letter to Garland. He did, however, consult with White House officials in advance of sending the letter.
Grassley pointed out that the White House was involved in drafting the letter, even as multiple state attorney generals have written to Garland to say there was “no spike in violence against local school boards.” He said that this demonstrates that the Biden administration has “just made up” the allegations “for political purposes.”
Grassley added a direct warning to Garland, telling him to “stop being a pawn for the White House by politicizing the Department of Justice.”