President Trump wants federal agencies to stop providing race-related training sessions and what he called in a memo by the White House Office of Management and Budget first reported on by the Washington Post.
According to the Post, Trump called racial sensitivity training “divisive” and “un-American.”
In the memo released Friday, September 8, Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought wrote, “It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda … The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.”
The Directive Asks Agencies to Identify Training Sessions Focused on Racism
The memo says that trainings which mention white privilege or asserting that racism is part of the country’s foundation “engender division and resentment” and “undercut” the Federal government’s “core values”:
… According to press reports, employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or where they are required to say that they “benefit from racism.” According to press reports, in some cases these training have further claimed that there is racism embedded in the belief that America is the land of opportunity or the belief that the most qualified person should receive a job.
These types of “trainings” not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce …
In the meantime, all agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory “white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these unAmerican propaganda training sessions.
The memo ends by saying, “The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government.
Trump Has Repeatedly Said That He Is Not Racist
The memo describes Trump and his administration as “fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the United States. The President has a proven track record of standing for those whose voice has long been ignored and who have failed to benefit from all our country has to offer, and he intends to continue to support all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or creed.”
Trump sparked outrage after tweeting that four American congresswomen of color that they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Following that incident, he said his tweets were not racist.
Trump has in fact called himself a champion for Black Americans on Twitter:
However, many Black Americans have pushed back on this narrative, pointing to his June retweet (which he deleted) of a video showing one of his supporters yelling “White power,” as the New York Times reported.
Others have pointed to his support of the St. Louis couple, Patricia and Mark McCloskey, who brandished their weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters; the couple — who have since been charged with illegally using their weapons, according to CNN — was also invited to speak at the Republican National Convention.
Others have criticized his handling of situations involving protests, such as when he was accused of using teargas on protesters to clear the streets for a photo op or when he sent law enforcement without insignia and identification to cities where he said violent protests were occurring.
Both Vox and The Atlantic have documented Trump’s history on race, from his comments after he and his father were federally sued for housing discrimination to his support of the racist “birther” conspiracy against former President Obama to calling Mexicans “rapists” at the launch of his 2016 campaign.