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Blackburn confronts Deputy AG Monaco about crackdown on alleged harassment of school officials

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., on Tuesday confronted U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco over the Justice Department’s new crackdown on the alleged harassment of school officials, saying it will unfairly target parents who oppose the progressive agenda.

Blackburn caught up with Monaco as she was leaving a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and asked about the DOJ’s memo. The memo directed the FBI and U.S. attorney offices to hold meetings with federal, state and local law enforcement leaders within 30 days to discuss ways to combat what the DOJ described as an “increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools.”


C-SPAN cameras captured the confrontation between Blackburn and Monaco. 

The senator said the “implication” of the memo was that parents who do not adhere to the progressive agenda are to be considered by the state as “violent.” 

Monaco attempted to protest, but Blackburn continued, “It’s not always what you say, it’s what people perceive that you are saying. So, I think this is an incredibly dangerous precedent.

“And this coupled with the lack of respect for these young women that came for the Larry Nassar hearing is something that’s not very good for the DOJ right now,” Blackburn added, referring to the FBI’s mishandling of the sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts.

“The message that you are sending to parents, to individuals, is, ‘You take everything that we say or we’re not going to be there to protect you.’ And I think that’s a very dangerous place to be,” the senator continued. “This memo last night looks as if you are second-guessing every parent who is asking the question about what is being taught.”

Monaco repeatedly offered to get Blackburn a copy of the one-page memo “right away,” suggesting she hadn’t read or understood it.

“So, I hear you on the misperception, but I would ask you to look at the memo,” Monaco said.

Blackburn pushed back, saying, “the FBI has no business doing this anyway. Casting doubt on parents because they are going to question and trying to make certain how they’re being taught. I just think—”

“The FBI is not doing that,” Monaco interjected. “The role of the Justice Department is to, as you well know, investigate crimes. It’s about violence and that’s it.”


Blackburn said she would follow up with the DOJ later on the issue but added that parents just want their kids to learn in school and not be “indoctrinated.”

The exchange occurred after Blackburn arrived at the hearing late because she had been attending the Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.


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