White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki sobbed on the podcast News Not Noise with Jessica Yellin this week when discussing Florida's Parental Rights in Education Bill, which attempts to protect young students from activist teachers who would indoctrinate them into gender identity and adult sexual lifestyles.
"This is a political wedge issue and an attempt to win a culture war," Psaki said. "And they're doing that in a way that is harsh and cruel to a community of kids especially." Then she started crying.
"I'm, like gonna get, I'm gonna get emotional about this issue because I just, it's horrible," she cried, "but, but y'know, it's like kids who were bullied and it's just like all these leaders are taking steps to hurt them and hurt their lives and hurt their families.
"And you look at some of these laws, these states and it is going after parents who are in loving relationships who have kids, it's completely outrageous," she continued to sob.
"Sorry, I am just—," she said, apologizing for her tears. "This is an issue that makes me completely crazy. But it is an issue that is a political wedge issue. It is not a reflection of where the country is.
"And what people should understand and what we're talking about here in Florida, for example— trying to pull myself together now— is that you know, families if you have a kid in the classroom and I have a kindergartner, right. I can imagine her saying, you know, 'my friend has two moms, my friend has two dads.' And the teacher in her classroom, I would hope, would say, 'that's wonderful. They're loving parents and you have a mom and a dad.'
"This is penalizing teachers and educators. I mean, there are so many layers of this that are outrageous and I hope people continue to educate themselves on this because it is a bad side of politics, is what I will say and I will not cry again during this interview. I promise you."
"You are human!" Yellin affirmed.
"This is an issue that makes me very crazy," Psaki said.
"And this is what it is when people care," Yellin said. "We want people who care inside."
Psaki previously said that the bill is "designed to target and attack" children who believe they are born in the wrong body.
"Every parent," Psaki said when asked about the bill in February, "as one myself too, hopes that our leaders will ensure their children's safety, protection, and freedom, and today conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack the kids who need support the most, kids from the LGBTQI+ community who are already vulnerable to bullying, and we've seen that in study after study, and violence just for being themselves and just for being who they are."
"Make no mistake, this is not an isolated action in Florida," she said, before comparing the bill action to efforts by conservatives to take more control over public school educations. These latter efforts have been in service to ensuring that students are not taught to believe one race is superior to another, and to prohibit the teaching of works with depictions of graphic sex.
"Across the country," Psaki said, "we're seeing Republican leaders take action to regulate what students can and cannot read, what can or cannot learn, and most troubling who they can or cannot be."
"This is who these kids are," she said, "and these legislators are trying to make it harder for them to be who they are. So we felt it was important to speak out against this action and speak, really, and felt it was important to do that today."
According the Florida Senate, the Parental Rights in Education bill "Requires district school boards to adopt procedures that comport with certain provisions of law for notifying student's parent of specified information; requires such procedures to reinforce fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children; prohibits school district from adopting procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying parent about specified information or that encourage student to withhold from parent such information; prohibits school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental notification & involvement in critical decisions affecting student's mental, emotional, or physical well-being; prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels; requires school districts to notify parents of healthcare services; authorizes parent to bring action against school district to obtain declaratory judgment; provides for additional award of injunctive relief, damages, & reasonable attorney fees & court costs to certain parents."
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