Ken Burns put Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature on blast, arguing that its latest education bill is a “huge threat to our republic” that is reminiscent of Soviet and Nazi-era policies.
The documentary filmmaker appeared on “CNN This Morning” Tuesday after he posted a series of tweets about Florida House Bill 999, which proposes a ban on critical race theory and other teachings of American history.
“These bills that DeSantis and others are doing limit our ability to understand who we are, and are not inclusive. They’re exclusive,” he began. “Their narrowing the focus of what is and isn’t American history is terrifying. It feels like a Soviet system. Or, you know, the way the Nazis would build a Potemkin village.”
Tucker Carlson’s attempts to manipulate footage of the Jan. 6 insurrection is another example of the “rewriting of history at the most dangerous level,” he added. “It’s a huge threat to our republic.”
Referencing a documentary series he’s working on about the American Revolutionary War, Burns said that the Founding Fathers would be “rolling over in their graves if they think that this person is carrying the mantle of what it is to be American.”
The filmmaker continued that race is inextricable from America’s origin story: “We were founded on the idea that all men were created equal. The guy who wrote that owned hundreds of human beings and didn’t see the contradiction or the hypocrisy. And so our whole story is based in a discussion in race, along with the meaning of freedom. And that’s complicated, too, because freedom, you know, what I want, personal freedom, comes in to conflict with what we need, a kind of collective freedom.”
He singled out DeSantis’ attempts to “narrow” and deny the country’s growing diversity as a direct affront to liberty.
“If a company, Disney, disagrees with me, I changed their tax status,” he said, referencing last year’s “Don’t Say Gay” debacle. “If a state employee disagrees with me, I fire them. This is not a democracy. That’s an authoritarian [regime].”
Watch the full “CNN This Morning” clip above or here.