Branch President Lewis Jennings said in a statement that Chambers’ endorsement, and criticism of remarks made by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, smacked of hypocrisy.
The Okaloosa County Branch of the NAACP has called out School Superintendent Marcus Chambers over Chambers’ endorsement of President Donald Trump.
Branch President Lewis Jennings said in a statement that Chambers’ endorsement and criticism of remarks made by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden smacked of hypocrisy.
"What angers the NAACP the most is not the superintendent’s support of the president; rather it is his misguided rationale for doing so," Jennings said in the statement. "If Superintendent Chambers is counting two misstatements made by the former vice president as his reasoning for supporting President Trump, how then can he discount the numerous untruths, blunders and outright misleading statements made by the president over the past three years?"
Chambers made the comments on Twitter earlier this week. He called into question two comments in particular made by Biden, including his response to host Charlamagne the God on "The Breakfast Club" radio program that "if you’re black and you don’t vote for Joe Biden, then you ain’t black."
Chambers released his own statement early Friday afternoon in response to the NAACP.
"I appreciate the good work done in our community by members of the Okaloosa chapter of the NAACP in support of our students and schools, and agree that every individual has a right to express their own political opinions," the statement said.
Jennings said in his statement that the NAACP had received numerous calls about a video in which Chambers says "Recently Joe Biden made some statements that have reminded me of statements from the past. One of which — ’Poor kids can learn just as well as white kids’ — What does that mean?"
In Chambers’ Twitter video, he said "of course poor kids can learn as well as white kids. They can learn just as well as black kids and they can learn just as well as rich kids. That statement just didn’t make sense."
Chambers also stood by his dislike of Biden’s comments on "The Breakfast Club."
"Respectfully, who is Joe Biden to question someone’s blackness. I am proud of my black heritage, I’m proud to be an American ... " he said.
"Statements such as these divide us and are irresponsible ... It is for these reasons I am proud to support President Donald Trump," Chambers said.
The NAACP statement was sent out Thursday night.
Contacted Friday, Jennings said he put together the news release to voice concerns of several people who had reached out to him after seeing the Chambers’ video.
The Okaloosa Branch of the NAACP "stand(s) in solidarity with voters who have loudly expressed their anger regarding Superintendent Marcus Chambers’ endorsement of President Trump via Facebook and Twitter," the statement said.
"We believe our superintendent has every right to support whomever he chooses for president, but if he’s using the recent misstatements of Vice President Biden (for which he has apologized) as his reasoning for endorsing Trump, then he is openly discounting the numerous unapologetic, divisive comments of the president," the statement said.
In response, Chambers said, "It is my goal every day to be the best educational leader that I can be for the students, families and employees in the Okaloosa County School District. I will continue committing my energy and focus to achieve that goal."
Chambers was appointed to the superintendent’s job by Gov. Ron DeSantis after former Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson resigned mid-term.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a close political ally of the president and a chief supporter of Chambers’ campaign to be elected superintendent, also weighed in on the NAACP statement regarding the Trump endorsement.
"Marcus Chambers offered a message of unity. People should hear it," Gaetz said. "Trump-hating, partisan groups like the NAACP get especially triggered when black leaders like Marcus Chambers think for themselves and support President Trump. Marcus is a political candidate and a leader in our community. Who the heck is the NAACP to tell him what he can or cannot offer to the political discussion?"
Gaetz said he was "eager to hear the NAACP’s defense or repudiation of the racist comments of Joe Biden."
Ray Sansom, who will face off against Chambers for the superintendent’s job in August, said he had no comment regarding the NAACP’s news release.
"I’m focused on my own campaign," he said.
The NAACP release calls out Trump for claims he’d sent investigators to Kenya to establish that former President Barack Obama had been born there and comments seemingly condoning the actions of white nationalists at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. It notes recent publications that state Trump has lied more than 18,000 times since taking office.
"It just doesn’t add up if you compare the numerous, divisive comments of the president with the two misstatements of Biden," Jennings said in the statement.
"Mr. Chambers would better serve the students, faculty and support staff of Okaloosa County by focusing on providing safety and quality education for all while leaving political partisanship out of the classroom," the statement said.