Senators Demand Cardona Explain Role in Letter That Called Parents Domestic Terrorists

Emails show education secretary requested controversial letter to Biden

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona / Getty Images
January 14, 2022

Two dozen Republican senators are calling on Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to explain his role in soliciting a letter from the National School Boards Association that compared school parents to domestic terrorists.

An email released this week showed that an association official told a colleague that Cardona asked the group to write the Sept. 29 letter that urged President Joe Biden to use the FBI to investigate threats made against school board members. The letter was the catalyst for Attorney General Merrick Garland's decision to form a federal task force to track school board threats across the country.

Republicans and parent groups have bristled at the federal task force, saying that it will have a chilling effect on parents protesting at local school board meetings. Parents across the country have pushed back against school districts' coronavirus policies as well as the teaching of left-wing curricula, such as those that include critical race theory.

A group of senators, led by Tim Scott (R., S.C.), on Thursday asked Cardona what role he played in crafting the letter.

"While we knew early on that White House staff were complicit in the creation of this letter, it is only recently that information has surfaced implicating you and your office in this shameful episode," the senators wrote.

They also asked Cardona if he received instruction from the White House regarding the letter.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that association officials said in internal emails they were in contact with the White House and Department of Education regarding the letter. The latest emails show for the first time that Cardona was involved in the discussions.

The Department of Education denied this week that Cardona solicited the letter from the association but did not describe his interactions with the group.

"While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from [the National School Boards Association], to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders, and education associations," a spokesman told the Free Beacon.

Cardona has close ties to the National School Boards Association, the largest school board advocacy group in the country. He appointed the group's president, Viola Garcia, on Oct. 1 to serve on the Department of Education's National Assessment Governing Board. Garcia cosigned the association's letter to Biden.