Biggs is happy the pandemic has parents 'waking up' to oppose LGBTQ rights and education about racism.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) told a right-wing outlet on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic has had a silver lining: More parents are angry about public education.
In an interview on Turning Point USA's TPUSA Live, Biggs was asked about the "whole education system problem" facing the United States. He responded that the federal government should not be involved in education at all.
"There's no constitutional authority for the feds to do anything with regard to education, there's nothing in the Constitution. So the feds need to get out," he said. "The states need to take over."
"And the great thing about COVID," Biggs continued, "is parents started waking up a little bit, right? And they see this thing. So if parents would get involved, they're gonna say, 'There's nothing radical about two genders, but there certainly is something really radical about CRT [critical race theory], there's something really radical about this multi-gender orientation that's going on."
He tweeted out a link to the video on Thursday morning.
Biggs' comments come as local school officials have been facing an increasing number of violent threats and increased harassment from angry conservative parents. The FBI is currently investigating what Attorney General Merrick Garland termed a "disturbing spike" in incidents. Biggs signed a GOP letter on Wednesday falsely accusing Garland of ethical violations over the investigation, citing a debunked conspiracy theory about Garland's son-in-law.
Contrary to the Arizona Republican's suggestions, polls indicate that the angry mobs of parents do not represent the majority nationally.
Though few K-12 schools teach "critical race theory" — a specific academic approach to examining the systemic racism that has been present throughout the nation's history — Republicans have used the phrase in their attacks on the teaching of school kids about racism in general and to scare voters.
But a September USA TODAY/Ipsos poll found parents are not buying it. By a 63%-30% majority, American adults supported teaching about "ongoing effects of slavery and racism in US" in their children's schools. By a 49%-30% margin, they even said they backed teaching "critical race theory."
Republicans have also sought to demonize LGBTQ kids by pushing discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
An April PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found 67% of U.S. adults opposed legislation to prohibit transgender student athletes from participating in the sports team that matches their gender identity; just 25% supported such discrimination. A poll conducted by Hart Research Associates and the Human Rights Campaign the same month found 73% support for transgender student athletes.
And efforts to get the federal government out of education have long been wildly unpopular. A 2016 Gallup survey found just 18% support for a GOP proposal to eliminate the departments of Energy, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Education.
Last August, another poll found supermajority support for more federal involvement in education, not less.
While Biggs' comment did not appear to be suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic was a good thing overall, he has done little to stop it.
Since the start of the pandemic, he has argued that doctors should focus more on the economy than on death tolls; that public health officials should be quarantined without pay to "see how they like it"; that COVID-19 safety rules will "lead to the extinction of all of our freedoms"; and that efforts to make coronavirus vaccines available to people who want them were "terrifying."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.