Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee asked Attorney General Merrick Garland Wednesday if parents who protested school board actions were in the same category as the terrorists who were behind the Oklahoma City bombings.
Garland was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee when Blackburn posed the question. She asked Garland about the memorandum he released on Oct. 4 that detailed how local law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would club together for the “discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
“Knowing that you really helped bring to justice those that caused the Oklahoma City bombing,” Blackburn said, “would you really, honestly, put parents in the same category as a Terry Nichols or a Timothy McVeigh?”
“My God,” Garland responded. “Absolutely not.”
“Then why,” Blackburn asked, “why would you ever release a memo? I mean, did you write that memo? Did staff write that memo? What would have led you to do this? It is so over the top.” (RELATED: Garland Directs FBI To Target Parents For ‘Harassment, Intimidation’)
“Senator,” Garland replied, “there is nothing in the memo that in any way draws any comparison, anything like that. This memo is about violence and threats of violence.”
“Sir, I have to tell you that that may be your opinion,” Blackburn later said, “and many times perception is reality, and reading that memo myself, Tennesseeans reading that memo, what they found in that memo, what they heard you say, was if you show up and you question the school boards, you will be deemed a domestic terrorist. You could be investigated by the FBI. I mean, the FBI has a lot of other things that they should be focusing on, and the FBI should be there, looking at issues like China.”
The National School Board Association (NSBA) wrote a letter in late September calling on the Biden administration to enact certain statutes that would stop threats and violence directed at school board members. This includes actions “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” the letter said.
The NSBA walked back the letter on Saturday.