Jul 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP "extremist so-called leaders" need a "civics lesson," Harris says

Photo of Kamala Harris speaking from a podium that has a sign says "National Education Association"

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the National Education Association's 2022 annual event in Chicago on July 5. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Harris said Tuesday that "extremist so-called leaders" who refuse to ban assault weapons yet attempt to control women's bodily autonomy need "a civics lesson" to remind them "how a democracy works."

Why it matters: Her comments come one day after a gunman killed seven people and injured two dozen others in a Chicago suburb, and amid heightened political tension over attacks on abortion rights, LGBTQ communities and voting rights.

What she's saying: "These extremist so-called leaders refuse to keep assault weapons off our streets and out of our classrooms and tried to silence your voice through your union," Harris said in remarks at the National Education Association's 2022 annual meeting and representative assembly.

  • "And instead, these so-called leaders have tried to make you pawns of their political agenda."
  • "While you work hard to teach the principles of liberty and freedom in your classroom, these so-called leaders are taking freedoms away. Freedom away from women and the freedom to make decisions over their own bodies," she said.
  • "Freedom away from a kindergarten to third-grade teacher in Florida to love openly and with pride. And away from every American as they intentionally try to make it more difficult for folks to vote."
  • "These extremist so-called leaders need to attend a civics lesson," she added, drawing, cheers and applause from the audience. "I actually think it would benefit us all if they sat in your classroom for a few days to remember how a democracy works, to remember what freedom stands for and to remember what jobs they were elected to do."

The big picture: 2021 saw a record number of GOP-led anti-LGBTQ bills, a trend that has continued into 2022, NBC News reports.

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