STEVE BANNON (HOST): I understand why you guys go crazy, tell – because in the 6 o'clock hour, we've got all this stuff in Florida, we've got the Disney stuff and Governor DeSantis signed the bill. It's so heroic, but they're coming for him like nobody's business. Talk to me about Moms for Liberty because MSNBC is now – they got everybody, you guys are demons. You guys are trying to hurt kids. Walk us through exactly what you're trying to accomplish. And this definition, it's a new concept. I want to make sure we have the nomenclature. What are parental rights?
TIFFANY JUSTICE (MOMS FOR LIBERTY CO-FOUNDER): Parental rights are rights that every parent has, and the government does not give them to you, and they cannot take them away. Every parent has the fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children, their medical care. That includes mental health, by the way, their education and their values, education, their morals, their religious and character training. All of these things lie within the responsibility of the parent. We, as parents, are happy to own those responsibilities within our rights. So, you know, you talk about Ron DeSantis being under attack, they're coming for Ron. No, they're coming for our kids. That's who they're coming for, right? Ron DeSantis can handle himself. You heard him say he is not backing down, and we are so thankful that he has been a defender of parental rights all through COVID. And then certainly with HB 1557, which I mean, Steve, it's just been a complete lie. The media has lied, the president has lied, the press secretary has lied. They continue to lie about it.
BANNON: The lie being that this is a parental rights bill and an anti-grooming bill and not a – Hollywood started off the other day.
Why is that controversial, when did it get to be controversial in the United States of America, what happened and where did it happen?
JUSTICE: Well, you know, honestly, we were looking at it now and we really don't know. You know, everyone's up in arms. We said no sexual orientation instruction or gender identity instruction in grades K through three. I've got thousands and thousands of parents asking me, why not K through 12?
BANNON: The War Room ask it. But when did the concept, of even what you laid out, I thought, is just like common sense and also what America — you have the right to kind of raise your family right? And you have parental rights and the state can't come in and take – when did that even start to be a thing?
JUSTICE: I'm not really sure, but I think it was a very clear message to American parents when the government told us we had to cover our children's faces for all day long, every day, right? And we came to them and we said — and I had people coming to me, I served on the school board — saying, my kids are getting hurt, my deaf child is regressing, my kids are getting hurt, and the government didn't care and parents saw it. And this just seems to be a continuation of the same thing.
BANNON: This is a huge area for us, and Tiffany, one of the reasons is folks like yourselves. I mean, we've seen what you guys have done. I just – it's just hard to, I think, grasp and you see people now, it's becoming like – I see the typical guys at the federal level saying we need a Newt Gingrich type, you know, manifesto for parental rights. I see that they're out raising money already. So all of a sudden my radar is up that there's a problem. I see what the great work you guys are doing. Then I see the typical people that raise money and nothing ever happens. So is this going to be an issue – where's the center of gravity of where this fight is going to be?
TIFFANY JUSTICE (MOMS FOR LIBERTY CO-FOUNDER): Yeah, the center of gravity is in everyone's backyard. Local politics is where it is at in America. That is how we are going to create the change that we want to see. But you are not wrong. I have been asked many times, is this a political thing? Is this a political thing? I'm actually not that political of a person. I know people don't think that's true. It is, but we do see politicians trying to raise money off of this, and we do see people at the federal level trying to get parental rights legislation. Let me be honest with you and tell you this legislation needs to happen in your state. That is, who is controlling education for your children. And you know, Steve, I have to disagree with you to a certain degree. This needs to be on everyone's radar.
BANNON: Oh, it does. That's why I'm saying we haven't been and I'm saying we're fully engaged now. For the simple reason is that this is a major battlefront.
JUSTICE: But it's more than the culture wars. I mean, we're funding failure in our public education system.
BANNON: Talk about that. Where do we rank with literacy? Where do we rank with on math skills?
JUSTICE: Oh, horribly, it's ridiculous. I mean, we – 95 percent of kids have the ability to learn to read. That's neurodiverse kids, too. We're talking autism, down – I mean, all of these, dyslexia, children. 95 percent of all children can learn to read, but only one-third are actually learning to read in our schools. I'll give you a state. Kentucky, 29.8 percent of third-grade students are reading on a third-grade level. That's it. Twenty-nine.
BANNON: Give me that again.
JUSTICE: 29.8 percent of Kentucky third graders can read at a third-grade level. I mean, I don't know. That's the biggest national security threat we have in America. A generation of children who can't read. And then if you look and you see what happened with this bill, right? I don't think a lot of people that are opposing the bill actually read it. I think they decided they were going to rely on media and the president to give them information about it. We're going to have a generation that can't discern for themselves anything because they can't read anything and they'll have to believe what they're told. And that to me, a nation of sheep who are illiterate is no future for America.
BANNON: Is that where the Moms for Liberty – is your central focus now the schools and –
BANNON: OK, walk us through that because you're here on Capitol Hill for – to do what the next day or two?
JUSTICE: Yeah, tomorrow I was asked to go and speak with the House and minority members, and I'm thrilled to go and be able to speak to elected representatives. But I wonder why the Democrats don't want to hear from parental rights people too. They have parents. Democrats are parents, too. And so tomorrow, I'll go and give an update about where we are with parental rights in America, with education in America, and what the federal government's role should be, which actually is very, very little in education.
BANNON: What do you mean by that?
JUSTICE: Well, the federal government needs to get out of state education. States run education. They make the laws regarding what should happen in their state, and there's a legislative process to do that. America is very unique. We have elected local representatives that are supposed to be the representatives for constituents. And unfortunately, too often I hear school board members say, Oh, I serve the 9,000 people that work in my district. No, you don't. You serve the people, and the people are going to hold the elected representatives accountable at the ballot box this year, Steve.
BANNON: Are we going to start taking over the school boards?
JUSTICE: Absolutely. We're going to take over the school boards, but that's not enough. Once we replace the school boards, what we need to do is we need to have search firms, that are conservative search firms, that help us to find new educational leaders, because parents are going to get in there and they're going to want to fire everyone. What else needs to happen? We need good school board training. We need lawyers to stand up in their communities and be advocates for parents and be advocates for school board members who are bucking the system. Right now, parents have no recourse within any public education district.
BANNON: Is Moms for Liberty doing all of this? Are you going to run the training for school board members? Are you going to actually say, Hey, we got us up these operations, they have search firms to have people want to dedicate themselves to children to come in and actually teach true American values. Is this what Moms for Liberty is going to do?
JUSTICE: So Moms for Liberty has chapters across the country. We started in January of 2021. We now have 180 chapters in 34 states with over 80,000 members. We just added Hawaii – aloha to all of our friends in Hawaii. Very excited to see us growing. And yeah, Moms for Liberty groups are doing trainings for school board members. We're doing the school board activism training, so you know how to support school board members. But what my message today is – get out and run for school board. It's a part-time job. It's not a full-time job. Anyone can do it. You do not need to have a background in education and we need more people.
BANNON: If people want to find out about that, where do they go today to find out about it? They want to run for school board. How do you get – we got about a minute. I want to walk through how people get access to find that information out and how do they follow you on social media.
JUSTICE: Absolutely. It's so – go to Moms for Liberty dot org and you're going to see a big map there. It's a blue map that's quickly turning yellow because all of the counties where we have chapters are yellow. You can go to your state, you can click on your state to see if you have a chapter near you, or you can click to start one. You can also just email that chapter chair if it's in a surrounding area and say, I'm considering running for school board, I'd like to come and speak to your group. Candidates come and speak to Moms for Liberty chapters. They want to hear from you.
BANNON: OK, and you're here for a couple more days, so we'll get you back on here before you take off. This is one of the most important things we're working on. Tiffany Justice, co-founder of Moms for Liberty. Incredible job right off. You're firing off the football, OK.