GOP Secretary Of State Candidate Literally Burns Books In Twitter Post

Valentina Gomez, who said she believes books with LGBTQ+ themes are “grooming” kids, would oversee Missouri’s public library system if she wins.

Valentina Gomez, a Republican running for Missouri secretary of state, posted a video to social media this week in which she blowtorched books, falsely claimed that books with LGBTQ+ themes are indoctrinating and sexualizing children, and promised to preside over widespread efforts to remove books from public libraries if she wins her race.

“This is what I will do to the grooming books when I become secretary of state,” Gomez says in the video, posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, before releasing a blaze of fire. “These books come from a Missouri public library. When I’m in office, they will burn.”

“Naked: Not Your Average Sex Encyclopedia” by Myriam Daguzan Bernier and “Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens” by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke were on the receiving end of Gomez’s flames in the video.

Missouri’s secretary of state has myriad responsibilities, including serving as chief election official, overseeing the state library system and administering emergency rules, which are state regulations that can be implemented rapidly. Gomez, a real estate investor and financier, says on her campaign website that she will “review” library funding and programs in order to “ensure they genuinely strengthen Missouri’s future.” She also supports banning gender-affirming health care for trans youth and getting rid of electronic voting machines.

On Thursday, Gomez posted a screenshot on Instagram, which is owned by Meta, showing that the company had removed the video from its platform.

“Just like President Trump, I am one of the most suppressed voices on Instagram. I call for META CEO Mark Zuckberg to reinstate me, and to create an injury fund for all the victims that Facebook failed to protect against the vile groomers,” Gomez said in a lengthy comment to HuffPost, in which she also claimed without evidence that “Zuckerberg permits and endorses pedophiles on Instagram and Facebook.”

Gomez continued with a homophobic broadside: “Message is simple. You want to be gay? Fine be gay. Just don’t do it around children. Stop putting books in libraries about sexualization, indoctrination and grooming of children.”

Gomez’s inflammatory video is emblematic of how invested conservatives have become in the culture wars. Up and down the ballot and across the country, various GOP candidates have made it a cornerstone of their campaigns to target the LGBTQ+ community. This often comes in the form of attacking books with LGBTQ+ themes, claiming that they’re pornographic or secretly indoctrinating children.

Republicans in many states, including Missouri, have successfully whipped up a moral panic about books and have passed laws that restrict what books are available to children in schools and at public libraries.

In 2022, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a law that was meant to ban sexually explicit books from school libraries. However, librarians and other critics argued that the measure was vague and didn’t offer a clear definition of “sexually explicit,” and warned that it would lead to the removal of books conservatives simply don’t like. The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is suing the state over the policy.

Missouri banned 333 books during the 2022-23 school year, according to PEN America, an anti-censorship nonprofit organization.

And last April, Missouri House Republicans voted to defund the state’s public libraries, a measure that failed to pass in the state Senate.

Gomez is not the first Missouri GOP candidate to promise to burn books. In September, Bill Eigel, who is running for governor, posted a video in which he symbolically burned cardboard boxes representing “leftist policies.”

“But let’s be clear, you bring those woke pornographic books to Missouri schools to try to brainwash our kids, and I’ll burn those too ― on the front lawn of the governor’s mansion,” Eigel said in a post on X.

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