Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate, went after his rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis, on Sunday over his response to new Florida Board of Education standards on how African-American history will be taught in schools.
“DeSantis started this fire with the bill he signed and now he doesn’t want to take responsibility for what happens next. And hearing and seeing his comments, he obviously feels uncomfortable,» Christie said in a interview on CBS’s «Face the Nation.»
The new history standards in Florida, which the board approved last week, teach students that some black people benefited from slavery because it taught them useful skills. The curriculum updates were required by a 2022 law DeSantis called the «Stop Woke Our Kids and Employees Act» or «Stop WOKE Act.» NBC South Florida reported.
Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday rebuked the new standards, denouncing them as an effort by extremist leaders to spread propaganda.
DeSantis quickly pushed back in a cheep, accusing Harris and other Democrats of lying about the state’s educational standards to «cover their agenda.» He also dismissed Harris’s reaction as «absolutely ridiculous» and «utterly outrageous» in brief remarks to reporters at the Utah Capitol.
When asked to respond to board writing on the curriculum change, DeSantis said, «I didn’t and I didn’t participate in it.»
Christie took aim at DeSantis’ comments on Sunday. “’I didn’t do it’ and ‘I’m not involved in it,’ are not words of leadership,” she said. “If this was such a big deal for Governor DeSantis, he had four years to do it. He only started to focus on it when he decided that he wanted to run for president and try to get to the right of [former President] Donald Trump.»
“So I think people see this as political manipulation,” Christie added.
DeSantis’ campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Christie has launched frequent attacks on DeSantis and other candidates in the early race for the Republican nomination. He spent almost as much time criticizing his presidential rivals as touting his own achievements during a nearly two-hour town hall in South Carolina on Friday night, an event that marked Christie’s first outing in the state since he launched his campaign in June.
Throughout the event, Christie delivered stinging jabs at various 2024 contenders, disparaging both President Joe Biden and Trump alike, but also calling out DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley by name.
alec hernandez and Nnamdi Egwuonwu contributed.