Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) criticized a Brooklyn school principal Monday for her decision to replace the song "God Bless the USA" with Justin Bieber's hit single "Baby" in her school's graduation ceremony.
Greta Hawkins, school principal at Public School No. 90, said that the patriotic Lee Greenwood song could "offend other cultures." According to the New York Post, five classes spent several months practicing the ceremonial song before it was switched at last week's rehearsal.
"I have just one question for this principal: 'Who exactly are we offending?'" Grimm said in a Monday statement blasting Hawkins' song choice. "The only thing offensive about any of this is the anti-American message being ingrained in our youth. We all should be proud to be American and we should never ever apologize for it!"
Hawkins had argued that the lyrics for Greenwood's ballad are too grown-up for kindergarteners, using Justin Bieber's tune as a substitute. The city's Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti supported Hawkins decision, agreeing that "God Bless the USA" is "not age-appropriate."
Grimm, in contrast, deemed Bieber's song to be "inane and age-inappropriate."
“When a Justin Bieber song is deemed an appropriate substitute for a song about patriotism and love of country, what message are we sending our youth?" Grimm said. "It's time we stop letting our political correctness destroy our values and American traditions, and start embracing the exceptional people and cultures that make our country great."
In the aftermath of her recent decision, Hawkins started to receive racist hate mail. "You are a filthy, dirty, ugly, subhuman gorilla," read one such letter.