When Republican presidential candidates like Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump appear at the Moms for Liberty Summit in Philadelphia at the end of June, their hosts will be a hate group.
At least that’s the claim of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-left political organization that is drawing scorn for labeling Moms for Liberty and other parental rights organizations as “extremist group.” The SPLC even includes them on the same “hate map” as neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
Another GOP candidate, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, just held a town hall in New Hampshire with Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice. Like many SPLC critics, he dismissed the attack as “a farce.”
“The SPLC is a tentacle of the woke-industrial complex,” Ramaswamy said. “I’m proud to be the first candidate to sign the Moms for Liberty Parent Pledge.”
While often presented in media reports as a neutral authority on hate crimes, the SPLC makes no secret of its left-of-center politics. In its report lumping parents protesting school board policies with the White supremacist militia movement, the SPLC made repeated partisan attacks against Republicans. It also claimed “backlash is a political strategy,” not a natural response from concerned parents.
Among their indicators that Moms for Liberty is an “extremist group” is its support for shutting down the federal Department of Education, a policy embraced by millions of Americans and multiple presidential candidates every four years.
The SPLC report included 523 “hate groups” in its latest map, which includes 230 chapters of Moms for Liberty, No Left Turn in Education and other parental rights organizations. It also includes the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom, both organizations promoting religious liberty and Christian beliefs, on the “hate groups” list.
In response, Moms for Liberty tweeted, “Last year, the Biden White House worked with the (National School Boards Association) to label Parents Domestic Terrorists. Today, the SPLC labels our organization — an org full of moms who care about their kids — a Hate Group. This is a coordinated attempt to silence and suppress us.”
Justice called the SPLC’s actions “absurd.”
“They put our picture next to the KKK? How ridiculous is that?”
Asked why the parents’ rights movement is facing so much backlash, Justice said it starts at the White House. “Look at what Joe Biden said. ‘There is no such thing as someone else’s child. Our nation’s children are all our children.’ Parents are saying, ‘No! They are my children.’ We have a right to oversee their upbringing. The culture war is in the classroom, parents are getting involved in protecting our kids, and now they’re fighting back.”
That’s not the only Biden connection. The Washington Free Beacon reports the author of the new SPLC report met with Biden’s National Security Council counterterrorism director John Picarelli at the White House earlier this year.
Jeremy Tedesco, Alliance Defending Freedom’s senior vice president of corporate engagement, said, “The Southern Poverty Law Center is a thoroughly discredited, blatantly partisan activist outfit known for sexism, racism and condoning domestic terrorism. No one should be listening to the SPLC. It is preposterous to now see the SPLC target moms and dads who simply want to have a voice at school board meetings — this is an organization that has lost its way entirely.”
Hugh Brown, vice president of the American Life League, called the SPLC “a joke.”
“It’s something that began with genuine intent when there was a need to combat racism in the ’50s, ’60s, perhaps the ’70s during the Civil Rights movement. And now, what you see is the perpetual hunt for the next created civil right. Because they have to justify their existence, they are very much just a left-wing, nonsensical group that takes its orders, more than likely, from Washington.”
“We saw the FBI, the Department of Justice target parents here in Virginia and other places, parents attending school board meetings,” Brown said. “So, they’re just following suit. Parents advocating for children is our God-given responsibility.”
Ramaswamy will be one of several GOP presidential hopefuls appearing at the Moms for Liberty national summit in Philadelphia. The schedule also includes Trump, DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Justice says her organization has reached out to Biden but received no response.
In a statement, Justice and fellow Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich noted, “Two-thirds of Americans think the public education system is on the wrong track today. Calling parents, who want to be a part of their child’s education, ‘hate groups’ or ‘bigoted’ just further exposes what this battle is all about: Who fundamentally gets to decide what is taught to our kids in school — parents or government employees?
“We believe that parental rights do not stop at the classroom door, and no amount of hate from groups like this is going to stop that.”