The September 29 letter was signed by NSBA CEO Chip Slaven and president Viola Garcia and spoke of an increase in acts of "malice, violence, and threats against public school officials" – something the signers said "could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism" (see related article). It also urged the Biden administration to invoke the Patriot Act, a bill passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America.
That letter precipitated Attorney General Merrick Garland (pictured) to tell the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate complaints of threats to school officials from parents. On Friday, the NSBA board said it regrets and apologizes for the letter, adding "there was no justification for some of the language in the letter."
AFN spoke with Jenny Beth Martin, honorary chair of Tea Party Patriots Action. "They are trying to distance themselves because there is so much blowback," she shared.
"Parents don't take kindly to being accused of being domestic terrorists, and voters don't take kindly to the people who they elect joining associations that would call their voters domestic terrorists – when all that the voter is doing it exercising First Amendment rights to hold government accountable and to petition for a redress of grievances."
That, Martin explained, is constitutionally protected speech. "It's difficult for me to believe that [the NSBA apology] is sincere," said Martin, whose organization released a video over the summer urging parents to shut down the NSBA. "Perhaps it is; perhaps they've learned. But it was too well orchestrated to begin with."
Last week, Fox News and other outlets reported that the Biden White House had been in contact with NSBA's CEO for several weeks before sending the letter.
"They coordinated this letter with the White House and with the Biden administration before sending it to the FBI, and then the FBI immediately responded to it so this was well thought out beforehand and now they have blowback," says Martin. "So, it's difficult to believe [that apology] is sincere."
On Monday, House Republicans called on Attorney General Garland to rescind his memo to the FBI telling agents to investigate.