Black Republicans across Florida are countering a protest by the state NAACP over a commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University by Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
“Secretary DeVos’ visit to Bethune-Cookman further demonstrates the Trump administration’s commitment to building relationships with and strengthening America’s historically black educational institutions," Michael Barnett, chairman of the Palm Beach GOP, said in a statement provided to the Tampa Bay Times.
The NAACP in Florida on Monday denounced the decision to have DeVos speak at the May 10 graduation in Daytona Beach, calling it a “slap in the face to minorities, women and all communities of color.”
But other voices have surfaced.
Glo Smith of Jacksonville, who ran for Congress last year, said: “It’s disappointing to see the NAACP, an organization committed to diversity and inclusion, take a stand against a speech from Secretary DeVos that would promote just that. With free speech being one of our country’s most sacred rights, to condemn Bethune-Cookman’s openness to hearing from all viewpoints is nothing more than petty politics."