WATCH: Tim Scott Joins the Chorus of Attacks on Ron DeSantis Over Florida's Black History Curriculum

2024 presidential candidate Tim Scott has joined the chorus of voices from all sides attacking Ron DeSantis over Florida’s black history curriculum. The controversy surrounds a single line written by a majority-black panel that requires the teaching of the skills formerly enslaved people learned that they then used to their “benefit” after abolition.

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Dr. William B. Allen, one of the members of the panel, has gone public to defend his team, stating that the intention is to tell the stories of former slaves who overcame adversity to benefit themselves and others. He used Frederick Douglass learning to read as a slave and then becoming a man who spoke to the foundation of the nation as an example. Later, it was revealed that the sentence is essentially a copy and paste from the original AP course, which Kamala Harris and others demanded Florida adopt lest they be racist.

With all that in the rearview mirror, Scott still decided to go on the attack.

SCOTT: As a country founded upon freedom, the greatest depravation of freedom was slavery, there is no silver lining in freedom — in slavery. The truth is that anything you can learn, any benefits that people suggest you had during slavery, you would have had as a free person.

Slavery was really about separating families, about mutilating humans, and even about raping their wives. It was just devastating. So, I would hope that every person in our country, and certainly running for president would appreciate that. Listen, people have bad days, sometimes they regret what they say, and we should ask them again to clarify their positions.

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As a point of clarification of Scott’s statement, the curriculum does not say or suggest people had benefits “during slavery.” The sentence in question exists within a section on the history of freemen. It’s unclear where Scott got that framing or whether he’s actually read the curriculum himself.

The mention of those “running for president” needing to “clarify their positions” is clearly a direct shot at DeSantis and mirrors Byron Donalds’ criticisms on behalf of the Trump campaign.

Moving to the political ramifications of this, as I wrote recently, DeSantis needs to remain in the news for the right reasons. In a Republican primary, being attacked over this is a good thing. It’s very similar to the situation with Disney, where Nikki Haley, Donald Trump, and Chris Christie all criticized DeSantis for fighting that battle. How it would play in a general election is a different discussion and one that isn’t really relevant until a nominee is chosen.

In short, any Republican who is otherwise well-liked (and DeSantis still has the highest favorable rating in the field) will usually benefit by being ganged up on. We saw that dynamic play out in 2016, and the more DeSantis can put himself on the side of an issue that most Republican primary voters will defend him on, that’s objectively a good thing for his campaign.

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