Rep. Byron Donalds is on the outs with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after Donalds criticized the state’s new Board of Education curriculum regarding slavery.
Donalds, a Republican representing Florida’s 19th District, objected after DeSantis claimed that enslaved people benefited from slavery by learning important skills.
“The new African-American standards in FL are good, robust, & accurate,” he wrote. “That being said, the attempt to feature the personal benefits of slavery is wrong & needs to be adjusted. That obviously wasn’t the goal & I have faith that FLDOE will correct this.”
Donalds also spoke about the needed adjustments to the curriculum during an interview with WINK News.
“Slavery was terrible in our country,” he said. “It was terrible for Black people coming to America, and it was just flat out wrong, no doubt about that.”
Donalds went on to say that the standards which state that “slaves developed skills which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit” needed “adjustments.”
“To me, yes, that section needs some adjustments. The talking point narrative around it, yeah, it sounds awful,” said Donalds. “Like nobody should be accepting of that, but when you read through the standards, they actually did a very good job in covering all aspects of Black history in the United States.”
Conservatives accused Donalds of jumping on the Kamala Harris bandwagon due to the vice president’s critique of Florida’s new Black history curriculum. Harris criticized the suggestion that anyone benefited amidst the “atrocities” and “dehumanization” of slavery. Harris also said that the standards were fake and misleading propaganda while noting other attempts to minimize the treatment of minorities by the United States government.
Senior national political reporter for NBC News Sahil Kapur noted the criticism on Twitter with the caption, “GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, a Trump supporter, politely criticizes new Florida curriculum teaching the benefits of slavery. Aides to Governor Ron DeSantis respond by accusing him of pushing Biden White House talking points and comparing him to Kamala Harris.”
“One day your party is nominating you for House Speaker, the next day your (sic) a Biden schill,” wrote one.
Another replied, “Did Kamala Harris write this tweet?”
Others defended Donalds and aptly noted that slavery needn’t be whitewashed.
“@ByronDonalds you should be honored to be compared to @vp,” added one user. “Strong condemnation is needed for the whitewashing of slavery. How could you face your children if you don’t?”
“Maybe he can join the Log Cabin Republicans in a ‘I thought they accepted and supported me, but actually they were just using me’ support group,” joked another user.
“Welp,” another replied with a picture of Donalds being patted on the head by a colleague.
“Can’t have it both ways on this one, Byron,” added another user.
DeSantis claimed that Vice President Harris’ visit to the state to combat the curriculum was an attempt to “perpetuate a hoax.”
“She’s here to try to push a fake narrative about what Florida did,” said DeSantis.