Controversial Republican Representative and possible criminal Matt Gaetz is once again at the center of controversy after calling for the abolition of the Department of Education in his latest act of anti-mask protest.
The notorious Congressman issued the declaration after the Department's Office of Civil Rights announced that it is opening an inquiry into five different states' bans on student mask mandates in schools.
Gaetz made his statement in a tweet in which he quoted an AP story about the Department of Education's efforts to contain the pandemic, which is escalating rapidly among school-aged children.
The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights is opening the investigations on the grounds that the states' barring of mask mandates constitutes discrimination against students with disabilities or health conditions because they could prevent such students from attending school safely.
The Department's investigations will focus on the states of Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, all Republican-led states that have banned school mask mandates in recent months just in time for the new school year to begin amid a soaring case load of Delta variant infections. Children are vastly over-represented among the infection compared to previous waves during the pandemic.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona accused those states' leadership of "putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve."
And in response, Gaetz decided to do just that, tweeting that the Department of Education should be abolished for attempting to protect students.
Advocating to shut down an entire department because of its differing views on how to manage a pandemic is a curious choice for Gaetz, since he has been at the forefront of a right-wing declaration of war on so-called "cancel culture," which many conservatives say amounts to silencing them for their political views.
But then, Republicans like Gaetz have a vested interest in attacking education--demographic studies have repeatedly shown a correlation between lower levels of education and Republican Party membership.
Republicans have proposed abolishing the Department of Education several times, first during the presidency of Republican Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and most recently in 2017. Gaetz was part of that push for abolition as well.
And on Twitter, people saw right through his rhetoric.
While Gaetz and other Republicans fight tooth and nail to bar schools from mandating masks, case loads, hospitalizations and death rates among school-aged children have been steadily rising for weeks. Many expect those rates to soar even higher as schools reopen.