Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is calling for Attorney General Merrick Garland to resign after Garland “mobilized the FBI to intimidate parents without legal basis.” Hawley argues Garland’s actions were a “dangerous abuse of authority.”
Hawley’s remarks came shortly after the National School Board Association issued an apology memo to its members Friday night and claimed “there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.” The letter was sent just before Garland issued a memorandum instructing the FBI to take the lead on a task force to address threats against school officials, including the creation of a centralized way to report such threats.
“Merrick Garland mobilized the FBI to intimidate parents without legal basis and, we now know, premised on misinformation he didn’t bother to verify,” Hawley wrote in a tweet. “It was a dangerous abuse of authority that has badly compromised the Justice Dept’s integrity and Garland’s. He should resign.”
Earlier this month, Hawley grilled Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco over the Justice Department’s handling of the situation, calling the actions “truly extraordinary.”
“I think parents across this country are going to be stunned to learn — stunned — that if they show up at a local school board meeting, where they have the right to vote, and you are attempting to intimidate them, you are attempting to silence them, you are attempting to interfere with their rights as parents and, yes, with their rights as voters,” Hawley said at the time. “This is wrong. This is dangerous. And I cannot believe that an attorney general of the United States is engaging in this kind of conduct.”
In its original letter to the Biden Administration, the NSBA claimed that some rhetorical clashes between school boards and parents may amount to domestic terrorism.
Several educational groups, state school board and members of the U.S Commission on Civil Rights have criticized the administration for issuing the memo.
In a letter to Garland, half of the eight members of the Commission on Civil Rights requested “specific examples” of “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” that Garland claimed as evidence for the need for federal intervention in parent protests at schools.
“Will the AG reverse?” asked Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, in a tweet Friday reacting to the new NSBA letter.