(The Hill) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) defended his state’s updated and controversial Black history curriculum during the second GOP debate, decrying the “hoax that was perpetuated by Kamala Harris” regarding the new educational standards.

“So first of all, that’s a hoax that was perpetrated by Kamala Harris. We are not going to be doing that,” DeSantis said when asked about backlash over Florida’s Black history curriculum, which suggests to students that slavery offered benefits.

“Second of all, that was written by descendants of slaves. These are great Black history scholars. So we need to stop playing these games,” he continued. “Here’s the deal: Our country’s education system is in decline because it’s focused on indoctrination, denying parents rights. Florida represents the revival of American education.”

The contested line in the educational curriculum is part of a benchmark clarification that “instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Vice President Harris has pushed back on the curriculum, saying during a visit to Florida this year that “there were no redeeming qualities of slavery” — a sentiment that Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) doubled down on during the debate as he furthered his criticism of the curriculum.

“There is not a redeeming quality in slavery. He and Kamala should have just taken the one sentence out. America has suffered because of slavery,” Scott said.