Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott was harshly criticized after he commemorated the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy in a Twitter post published on the federal holiday that bears King's name.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which protested racial discrimination in federal, state and local law.
King participated in and led marches for the right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other civil rights. His actions—particularly as the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)—achieved pivotal legislative gains in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
While Abbott claimed King's "vision of liberty [and] opportunity for all... burns brightly in Texas," he was quickly called out for hypocrisy because Texas Republicans in 2021 passed a bill that allows public schools to exclude the Civil Rights movement, women’s suffrage and the history of Indigenous peoples in history courses.
You can see Abbott's post below.
When Republicans passed the highly contentious Senate Bill 3 in July 2021, civil rights and educational organizations immediately opposed its removal of requirements to teach “the history of White supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”
The bill served as an addendum to previously passed legislation in the state Abbott signed into law which fundamentally altered how current events and America’s history of racism can be taught in Texas schools.
That bill is commonly referred to as the “critical race theory” bill because of its opposition to a graduate school level analysis of systems and institutions which quantifies areas of disparity in treatment and outcomes Republicans falsely alleged is being taught in elementary, middle and high schools to appeal to the insecurities and fears of their core voting base.
Many have criticized Abbott's blatant hypocrisy since he issued his tweet.
Abbott wasn't the only Republican to be called out for hypocrisy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert was criticized after she quoted King, who once said the "ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Boebert, who said on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Americans celebrate King's "incredible legacy and contributions to this great nation," backed efforts to stop children from learning about the Civil Rights movement, regularly and falsely accused Democrats of advancing critical race theory in public schools and opposed moves to safeguard voting rights.