Moms for Liberty Flops on ‘60 Minutes’

  • Organization couldn’t answer basic questions

Moms for Liberty co-founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich. Screenshot via "60 Minutes."

Some of the largest right-wing political movements since the beginning of the pandemic have cloaked themselves in the mantra of  “protecting children” and “parent’s rights,” with one of the largest organizations taking advantage of that being Moms for Liberty.

Two of the founders went on CBS’ “60 Minutes” for an in-depth interview in early March. Their appearance was panned from many people.

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, slammed their interview posting on X (formerly Twitter): “They literally have to look at printed talking points.” The Advocate pointed it out, too: “often resorted to talking points rather than directly addressing [the] questions.”

Meanwhile, Mother Jones, a liberal news outlet, explained: “When confronted with basic questions on ‘60 Minutes,’ the group appeared ill-prepared and stumped and alleged their critics were trying to ‘marginalize us.’”

“What ideology are they being indoctrinated into?” “60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley asked. Tina Descovich responded: “Let’s just say, children in America cannot read.”

Pelley accused her of being evasive.

Later, the founders claimed they have members of all stripes.

“We have gay members,” founder Tiffany Justice said. “I think it’s an effort to really try to marginalize us as an organization because parents are coming together—across racial lines, across religious lines, across all of these different ways that we see Americans being divided so often.”

The organization, founded in 2021 by Justice, Descovich and Bridget Ziegler (who has since left), started by focusing on mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions in schools. In the three years since Moms for Liberty has expanded into 48 states with over 120,000 listed members, and according to their website, they’re “dedicated to fighting for the survival of America by unifying, educating, and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”

In the same period, Moms for Liberty was labeled an “extremist” organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In response, former President Trump declared that Moms for Liberty “is no hate group … You’re the best thing that ever happened to America.”

While the organization has establishments around much of the country, its largest concentration is here in the state where it was founded: Florida. Finding consistent platforming from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has emboldened Moms for Liberty in the state, pushing for book bans, anti-CRT and helping push legislation like the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

But the grassroots spectacle that has propelled Moms for Liberty into the spotlight has come under scrutiny. While the organization plays as if most of its money comes from individual donors, the reality is that they likely receive large parts of their funding from political interests outside the organization.

In an interview with the Washington Post, co-founder Descovich claimed the organization is funded by individual memberships and proceeds from t-shirt sales. She then continued this claim in an interview with education publication The 74. While there aren’t hard numbers to refute this, evidence suggests that they receive funding from Conservatives for Good Government, a right-wing Florida political action committee. They also host large dollar fundraisers, like a June 15 event that saw some top donors there donating over $50,000 each.

They also have deep GOP connections like Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Florida Republican Party, who said, “I have been trying for a dozen years to get 20- and 30-year-old females involved with the Republican Party, and it was a heavy lift to get that demographic. But now Moms for Liberty has done it for me.”

Also, one of Moms for Liberty’s largest supporters, DeSantis, has been backing away from issues he once championed alongside the organization, most notably book banning statutes in Florida.  Florida has banned the highest number of books in the country from schools and public libraries, and much of that is due to right-wing activists with no children in the public school system making mass complaints about books in certain libraries and schools.

All this without even highlighting the group’s racist and homophobic undertones, going so far as quoting Hitler, in a newsletter from an Indiana chapter, or their close ties to the known hate groups, like the Proud Boys.

They’ve also been criticized for targeting teachers and officials they take issue with like Jennifer Jenkins a Brevard County School Board member who unseated Moms for Liberty co-founder Descovich, who traced harassment she faced back to Moms for Liberty. Jenkins said she received messages saying, “We’re coming at you like a freight train! We are going to make you beg for mercy. If you thought Jan. 6 was bad, wait until you see what we have for you!”

The organization appears to be stumbling as these issues within the organization come to light, and other parents retaliate for their attempted chokehold on American schools. The most poignant moment was a January 2023 meeting where a single Moms for Liberty member sat in opposition to a chorus of concerned parents.


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