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Senate Hearing Bursts Into Laughter After GOP Senator Declares ‘I Don’t Want Reality’ During Heated Exchange
By Alex Griffing,
Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) elicited laughs from the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing room when he told a witness on Wednesday, “I don’t want reality” — while seeking answers to his questions about education.
The odd exchange took place during a hearing on child care, in which Mullin brought up a children’s book about race and pressed each witness on whether that book or the lyrics to “Jesus Loves Me” should be taught in schools.
Mullin began his line of questioning by attacking the committee’s chairman, Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT-I).
Mullin noted the committee is run by a “self-proclaimed socialist.”
“I’m not just calling you that chairman, you openly say that you’re a socialist in your book, Outsider in the House . The chairman says Bill Clinton is a moderate Democrat. I’m a Democrat socialist,” Mullin continued, warning a socialist has oversight of the U.S. education system.
“That’s over our education system. I have a book here, here in front of me called Our Skin ,” Mullin continued, adding:
And I’m going to read exactly what this book says. You guys might find it interesting. ‘A long time ago, way before you were born, a group of white people made up an idea called race. They sorted people by skin color and said that white people were better, smarter, prettier, and they deserved more than everybody else.’ This would be taught if we socialize our pre-K system, this would be.
“Do you disagree with that? Findings in the book,” Sanders interjected.
“One thousand percent. How about we teach ‘Jesus Loves Me?’ How about, how about this? And teaching Jesus loves and loves the little children. The lyrics go ‘red and yellow, black and white. They’re all precious in our sight.’ Now, which one would you think would be better? I’ll ask everybody on the panel. Which is better to teach?” Mullin replied.
“This, that is a story that was made up to teach our kids, three-year-olds, who have no idea what race is,” he continued, holding up the book.
“Now all of a sudden is being taught that white people said this as a truth. Someone prove to me that this is a truth that white people developed race, that white people developed that, that all of a sudden that was our word that we developed,” Mullin continued,” adding:
By the way, I’m Cherokee Native American. I think we have experienced a little bit of racism before in my life. Chairman. So I ask everybody on the panel which one is better to teach this or the ‘Jesus Loves Me’ lyrics. Ma’am, I’ll start here. Just tell me which one I don’t have time for.
“But I’ll tell you, Senator Mullin, is that what children in these early years develop their identity. It’s important that our classrooms…” replied one of the witnesses as Mullin interrupted.
“I’m just asking which one is better?” Mullin demanded.
“Let her answer the question, please,” Sanders insisted.
“My question is this,” Mullin shot back.
“She will answer as she sees fit,” Sanders replied.
Mullin and the witness then spoke over each other as Mullin continued to demand to know only whether “Jesus Loves Me” or Our Skin should be taught.
“If you don’t want to answer my question, that’s fine. Let’s move on down the panel. Which one is better to be taught? This book or the ‘Jesus Loves Me’ lyrics that say everybody’s skin doesn’t matter. They’re all precious in his sight,” Mullin continued.
“I think it’s important to teach that all children are seen and valued for who they are, and that’s…” replied another witness before Mullin cut her off.
“But why do you teach this? Don’t you think that other people are saying that white kids are to blame? It’s exactly what they’re going to teach, is exactly what it is, ma’am,” Mullin shot back.
“I disagree. First, it is important that we teach Jesus and Jesus is what we teach,” replied Cheryl Morman – President of the Virginia Alliance for Family Child Care Associations.
“So which one is better?” Mullin demanded.
Morman replied, “But reality is…”
Mullin cut her off, “Do you think this.”
“Could she answer the question, please?” Sanders then interjected.
“I don’t want reality. I’m asking the question which one is better?” Mullin demanded as the hearing room erupted in laughter.
“Got it on tape,” another senator could be heard saying on the microphone.
“Misspoke,” Mullin conceded.
“So what I’m saying is, which one is which? Which one is better to be taught?” Mullin demanded yet again.
“Mr. Chairman, is it this, or is it or is it the Jesus?” he continued.
Mullin and Sanders then debated back and forth before agreeing for Miss Morman to answer the question. “As I stated, Jesus is always first,” Morman said.
“Absolutely. I agree with that,” Mullin declared.
Mullin then gave a closing statement in which he quoted “socialist-communist” Joseph Stalin to warn against a socialist takeover of U.S. education.