White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed Wednesday to explain why the Biden administration has primed the FBI to go after parents protesting at local school board meetings after shrugging off public harassment of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) over the weekend.
During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki whether the Biden administration believed “that parents upset about their kids’ curriculums could be considered domestic terrorists?” following Attorney General Merrick Garland announcing that FBI would lead the response to what he called “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
That followed a letter to President Biden last week from the National School Boards Association (NSBA), who claimed that “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” as parents fight back against mask mandates being imposed on their children and critical race theory being injected into their curricula.
The NSBA letter further suggested that “[a]s these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
Psaki initially answered Doocy by snarking that “the National School Boards Association is not a part of the government” and reiterating that “regardless of the reasoning, threats and violence against public servants are illegal. That’s what he [Garland] was conveying.”
Doocy then noted that the NSBA letter had asked the Biden administration to consider investigating threats against school administrators and staff using tools provided by a variety of legislation, including the 9/11-era Patriot Act.
“Would the administration be OK with the FBI using the Patriot Act to surveil these parents if that’s what they decide?” he asked.
“I don’t speak on behalf of the National School Boards Association,” Psaki snarked again. “I speak on behalf of this government. The attorney general has put out a letter. They will take actions they take and I would point you to them for more information.”