MSNBC’s Joy Reid said the sight of Black children holding anti-critical race theory signs at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) bill signing was “tantamount to child abuse,” prompting DeSantis’ camp to defend itself over the weekend.
Reid on Friday shared a tweet from Florida State Sen. Shevrin Jones saying the boys in the photo were unknowingly being indoctrinated at DeSantis’ public signing of the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act (Stop WOKE) law.
“This mis-use of Black boys is tantamount to child abuse,” Reid wrote in her retweet. “I would really like to hear the back-story on who these kids were and how they wound up at a DeSantis event. Given how anti-Black DeSantis is, using Black children this way is extra sick.”
“The ReidOut” anchor later wrote that a source told her that “these Black boys who America’s most racist governor used as props came from a Miami charter school” and “that they may not have known in advance why they were there.”
Reid declined to identify the school to protect students and staff from threats.
On Saturday, DeSantis’ spokesperson Christina Pushaw wrote that the children understood they were supporting legislation opposing critical race theory, the study of systemic racism.
“I was working at this event and helped with the set up. My colleague talked to all the kids beforehand & told them what the issue was & what bills DeSantis was signing” and that they “freely chose to stand on stage,” Pushaw tweeted.
DeSantis has been attempting to score points with his far-right base to potentially bolster aspirations for higher office. He recently stripped Disney World of its self-governing powers for criticizing the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.