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The Biden administration’s disinformation czar dismissed parental concerns about critical race theory in an October speech, saying it was merely the GOP “weaponizing people’s emotion.”
Nina Jankowicz made the comments during an October speech before the City Club of Cleveland in Ohio. Her speech was titled “Disinformation and Democracy: Civic Discourse in the Digital Age.” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tapped Jankowicz to lead the department’s new disinformation board last week, a choice that has led to intense scrutiny.
“Critical race theory has become one of those hot-button issues that the Republicans and other disinformers, who are engaged in disinformation for profit, frankly … have seized on,” she said. “But it’s no different than any of the other hot-button issues that have allowed disinformation to flourish.”
“It’s, you know, it’s weaponizing people’s emotion,” she added.
Republicans have derided both Jankowicz and the Biden administration’s new disinformation board, arguing it is little more than a “ministry of truth.” Republicans on Capitol Hill have pointed to Jankowicz’s past endorsements of disinformation as well as her efforts to suppress accurate news events that were harmful for Democrats.
Asked about these incidents in Senate testimony on Wednesday, Mayorkas said he was not aware of them.
“When the department picked her, did it know that she had said that Mr. Hunter Biden’s laptop is Russian disinformation?” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., asked.
“I was not aware of that, but we do not discuss the internal hiring process. Ultimately, as the secretary I am responsible for the decisions of the Department of Homeland Security,” Mayorkas responded.
“When the department picked Ms. Jankowicz, did it know that she had vouched for the veracity of the Steele dossier?” Kennedy pressed.
“Senator, let me repeat myself and add an additional fact,” Mayorkas said. “One, we do not discuss internal hiring processes. Two, I was not aware of that fact. Three, as the secretary of homeland security I am responsible for the decisions of the department, and it is my understanding that Ms. Jankowicz is a subject-matter expert in the field in which she will be working on behalf of the department.”
Numerous Republicans have called on Mayorkas to dissolve the board. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., sent a letter to Mayorkas on Tuesday demanding answers about how much authority the board has. She went on to argue that the board threatens Americans’ First Amendment rights and that partisan control over it will chill conservative speech in particular.