FIRST ON FOX: Forty-one Republican lawmakers demanded Education Secretary Miguel Cardona resign from his post over his apparent links to the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) bombshell letter comparing protesting parents to violent criminals.
Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., led the letter to President Biden, which was first obtained by Fox News, demanding he "immediately fire" Cardona over the "now infamous letter."
"In your inaugural address before the American people you said, ‘to overcome these challenges- to restore the soul and to secure the future of America-requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity,’" the letter reads. "Later you said, ‘unity is the path forward.’"
"In the aftermath of this letter and the fierce blowback it caused, Secretary Cardona rewarded Viola Garcia, the NSBA President and co-signer of the letter, with an appointment to the National Assessment Governing Board," the lawmakers continued, pointing out that Cardona said Garcia and other appointees bring a "necessary" perspective.
The lawmakers said that any person who "believes an individual that equates parents voicing their concerns at school board meetings to domestic terrorists brings a necessary perspective to a national education board" is someone "unbecoming of a role in an administration which has pledged to foster a path forward to unify and heal our country."
"By soliciting this letter, having their department spokesperson deny the solicitation despite the clear and irrefutable evidence, as well as appointing the letter’s co-signer to a national education board and praising their credentials, Secretary Cardona demonstrated a complete lack of judgement, a divisive approach to his position, and a betrayal of the public trust," they wrote.
"Your pledge to help bring unity will ring even more hollow if Secretary Cardona continues in his current position," the Republicans concluded. "As such, in order to uphold your promise to help bring unity and healing to a divided nation, you must fire Secretary Cardona effective immediately."
Emails previously reported by Fox News indicated that Cardona had requested the NSBA’s Oct. 22 letter, which it has since apologized for, that called for federal action to address hostilities toward school boards as possible acts of "domestic terrorism."
A Department of Education spokesperson denied that Cardona solicited the NSBA letter, despite the email indicating he did.
"While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders and education associations," the spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
Previous emails had revealed that the NSBA was in contact with the White House and Justice Department in the weeks before it publicly sent the letter.
Several high-profile Republicans were in the group of 41 that signed onto the letter, including Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, Greg Murphy of North Carolina, and Ronny Jackson of Texas.
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates blasted the Republicans' letter in a Thursday statement to Fox News, claiming it "is based on a weak, desperate lie."
"And every single Republican who signed it voted against the historic funding the President delivered so that we could ensure our schools re-opened," Bates said. "If they want to work with us across party lines to keep schools open and ensure our children are getting a first-rate education, they are welcome to change course any time."
A White House spokesperson also pointed to the Department of Education's denial of soliciting the letter.
Fox News’ Peter Hasson and Jessica Chasmar contributed reporting.