NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS Local) — A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee who said he supported getting rid of higher education because it would cut off the “liberal breeding ground” now says he was kidding when he made the remark.
Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield called for eliminating higher education on his morning radio talk show on WDBL-AM Sept. 2, which was published on Facebook.
Roberts specifically called out an activist who had testified in favor of protecting abortion rights during a recent legislative hearing. He asserted, without evidence, that the woman’s beliefs were a “product of higher education” and claimed that getting rid of higher education would “save America.”
“If there’s one thing that we can do to save America today, it’s to get rid of our institutions of higher education right now and cut the liberal breeding ground off!” Roberts said with a raised voice during the radio broadcast.
“Good grief! The stupid stuff that our kids are being taught is absolutely ridiculous,” he continued in the same tone. “She’s learned all of this stuff that flies in the face of what we stand for as a country, and here we are as legislators paying for this garbage to be taught to our children.”
Roberts voted in favor of the state’s $38.5 billion budget earlier this year, which included money for colleges and universities.
“My listeners clearly understood the humor and hyperbole of it,” he said in a Facebook post published Monday evening.
Roberts added that the media coverage surrounding his statements was also “hyperbole.”
“It’s a good word to know and an even a better word to understand,” singling out journalists “who have a degree from an institute of higher education.”