As the story about Elizabeth Schultz’s comments regarding “both sides” of the Holocaust being taught in schools has received a lot of attention, there have been some Republicans who started to respond. They appear to realize that suggesting there are two sides of the Holocaust is a horrible thing to do, so folks supporting Schultz have claimed the remarks are “misconstrued,” come from a “dubious” source, and that she was really talking about standing up to bullying. After watching the video of the remarks, however, it’s clear these are simply desperate attempts to avoid having to admit the truth about what Schultz said.
In comments that have since been deleted (but I have screenshots just in case they want to dispute any quotes), the official account of the Sully District Republican Committee took to Facebook to say the information isn’t correct because the source of the video “seems to be Blue Virginia ….dubious at best.” While the video was originally posted on what’s admittedly a liberal website devoted to Virginia politics, it’s a highly respected source, the remarks were made in front of a conservative organization and recorded by somebody in attendance, and the video shows Schultz’s unedited comments.
Of course, they also tried to get a little snarky and said “this is why I enjoy discussing issues with the other side, the incorrectness of their position will eventually be proven to be incorrect.” I found this rather hilarious considering it was the positions Schultz took during a recent forum that were “proven to be incorrect.”
When that line of argument didn’t seem to be working, the Sully Republicans went on to insist “she’s speaking in the context of bullying.” Because that’s a way to make it sound like Schultz is actually looking out for the best interests of students, it’s easy to see why Republicans would want to promote this narrative. Through listening to her statement, however, it’s still clear that she was saying there were two sides of the Holocaust that need to “be presented” even if she was promoting an end to bullying.
Schultz’s remarks were using a hypothetical example that discussed the Holocaust being taught to students whose family members were associated with the Holocaust (she doesn’t say how they were hypothetically involved) and ultimately said “the school boards are not demanding both sides of an issue be presented.” That statement suggests there are two sides to the Holocaust and she appears to be upset school boards are not demanding both sides be presented.
Where the bullying defense might come into play is during the same comment she said students discussing the Holocaust might think a teacher’s “delimiting my ability to offer my side of it.” Using the reasoning of the Sully District Republicans, the clear implication of the statement is that not allowing a discussion on both sides of the Holocaust would amount to bullying.
Forcing students to hear only one side of many issues might be bad and it’d be a good thing for students to stand up for themselves in that situation, but there is no other side to the Holocaust. It’s extremely disturbing that Schultz would even consider the Holocaust a topic where students might need “to offer my side.” The statement she made suggests she thinks there are two sides of the Holocaust that could be taught. She might be standing up for students who want to prevent teachers from discussing only one side, but she was still saying there’s two sides to the Holocaust.
There were also Schultz supporters on other discussion forums who said the comments were being “intentionally misconstrued by Laura Jane Cohen — a weak candidate whose only distinguishing characteristic appears to be that she’s not Schultz.” (And there are screenshots of these to in case they mysteriously get deleted like the ones from the Sully Republicans). Setting aside the dig against Cohen’s background (and there’s plenty of info out there that disproves that claim), it illustrates how Schultz and her supporters like to channel Donald Trump. When they’re confronted with video evidence of what’s said, they simply choose to ignore the evidence and claim everybody else is lying.
With all this in mind, there are some questions that need to be answered by both Elizabeth Schultz and her fellow Republicans:
For the Fairfax County Republican Party and the candidates they support, it should be noted that they have accused Democrats of supporting antisemitism recently. Will the same candidates who made those claims now speak up against Elizabeth Schultz and her remarks?
And for Elizabeth Schultz directly, does she realize her remarks were hurtful? Will she publicly state there aren’t two sides to the Holocaust and that it was a poor decision to claim the school board should demand both sides be presented on this particular issue? And will she publicly admit that teachers aren’t bullying students just because they don’t present “both sides” of the Holocaust?