PHILADELPHIA—Former President Donald Trump promised to issue executive orders and ask Congress to pass laws that protect parental rights in a speech Friday evening at Moms for Liberty’s Joyful Warriors National Summit here.
Trump began by praising Moms for Liberty, a parental rights group that stands up to school boards across America, in the face of threats, violence, and protests.
“There is no earthly force more powerful than the love of a mother for her children,” Trump said. “You’ve taught the Left a lesson in school board races: Don’t mess with America’s moms.”
Trump, the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, criticized progressives’ increased activism over gender ideology, hormonal treatments, child mutilation, critical race theory, and DEI (short for diversity, equity, and inclusion).
If elected, Trump promised, he would sign several executive orders forbidding federal funding for any school that teaches critical race theory. He also said he would order the FBI and Justice Department to investigate schools and universities with practices that allow racial discrimination.
Trump promised a moratorium on federal funding for any college or university that practices diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as a “Day One executive order” banning federal agencies and the military from requiring or implementing DEI or LGBTQ+ activism.
Trump said he would forbid the FBI and Justice Department from labeling and investigating parents who express concerns at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists,” as President Joe Biden’s Justice Department did during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Such policies, Trump said, were largely responsible for a breathtaking decline in students’ performance in reading and math.
Concerning debunked pandemic policy, he pledged that under a second Trump administration no federal funding would go to any institution, especially one of higher education, that enforced a mask or vaccine mandate.
In remarks lasting just over an hour, Trump told his audience that he would appoint a presidential commission to investigate pharmaceutical companies that sold hormone-blocking medications intended for minors, and a separate commission to investigate the rise in chronic childhood diseases “over the last 10 years,” including autism and diabetes.
The former president also promised to classify any hospital that provided hormonal treatments or gender transition surgeries to minors as “failing to meet minimal health and safety standards”—thus cutting off any federal funding.
Trump became the second Republican presidential candidate to promise to drastically reduce the scope and power of the Department of Education.
“I’m going to push education back to the states,” Trump said to a standing ovation from the Moms for Liberty gathering.
Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested eliminating the department entirely.
Trump quipped that if becomes president again, the Education Department would become so small that “you could put it inside the Oval Office with me.”
He promised to give “preferential funding” to schools that ban tenure pay for K-12 teachers, adopt merit-based pay, and provide complete curricular transparency to parents. He promised “universal school choice” to all families, though he didn’t explain how he planned to do so.
Trump said he would like to institute a system in which principals of public schools would be “directly elected by parents,” so parents would be able to “fire” a principal they “didn’t like.”
The former president didn’t say how he would accomplish this, whether by executive order or asking Congress to pass legislation. But he suggested this would be the “ultimate form of local government.”
Trump derided violence in public schools, which, he said, “no one talks about” even as the safety of students and teachers is threatened by a lack of accountability and discipline.
He also promised to uphold Title IX protections for women in academics and keep men out of women’s sports. He derided recent incidents in which men who “transitioned” to women and entered women’s sports set records in track and weightlifting.
Although Trump pledged other massive changes in policy from immigration to foreign affairs, the Moms for Liberty attendees appeared ecstatic over the former president’s promises to swing the presidential bat on parents’ behalf.
Trump called for America’s education system to return to “reading and writing—it’s that simple.”
His promises indicate he’s willing to use federal funding and investigations as the carrot and stick to reach that goal.
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