Lee blasts critical race theory and then launches fundraising ask on the issue

Lee’s campaign sent out a fundraising email within hours

(Erin Scott | The New York Times) Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, attacked critical race theory during a cable news interview on Friday. Shortly thereafter, his re-election campaign began fundraising off the issue.

Sen. Mike Lee attacked critical race theory, saying it “weaponizes diversity” during a national television appearance Friday. He then sent a fundraising email in an effort to capitalize on his position.

“We should be celebrating diversity. Critical race theory doesn’t celebrate diversity. It weaponizes it. That’s bad for America and doesn’t help heal the wounds that need to be healed,” Lee said.

Lee was responding to a question about whether the Department of Education is allowing states to use pandemic relief funds approved by Congress to “promote controversial programs based on far-left curriculum” which is an oblique reference to the current panic over how race and racism are taught in schools.

At least six states have passed legislation banning the teaching of critical race theory, which views American history through the lens of racism. Critical race theory is not taught anywhere in Utah’s K-12 schools, but that has not stopped Utah lawmakers and the Utah Republican Party from passing resolutions against the curriculum.

The Utah State School Board recently approved rules governing how race can be taught in K-12 schools. Some lawmakers are mulling legislation to ban the teaching of “divisive subjects” in schools, including on college campuses.

“We’re not going to make things better by focusing on this as an essential element that’s somehow inextricably intertwined with who we are. That’s not true and that’s destructive to any civilization,” Lee said.

Within a few hours of the interview, Lee’s campaign sent out a fundraising appeal highlighting his criticism of critical race theory and asking for donations to “stop the left” in the upcoming election.

Fundraising email from Utah Sen. Mike Lee

Lee is facing two challengers for the GOP nomination next year, former Utah State Rep. Becky Edwards and Ally Isom, who was a spokesperson for the LDS Church and former Gov. Gary Herbert.