Donald Trump’s administration has ordered federal agencies to cancel racial sensitivity training that could be seen as “divisive” or “un-American,” a new report claims.
A memo obtained by The Washington Post from the White House Office of Management and Budget directs agencies to cancel contracts for programs that teach employees that America is an “inherently racist or evil country.” The memo says that Trump instructed the move, cutting millions of dollars of racial sensitivity training that discuss ideas like “white privilege.”
“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,” read the memo from OMB Director Russell Vought.
The report noted that the order came after Fox News shared a report critical of diversity and inclusion efforts put in place during Barack Obama’s presidency.
The move comes as the Trump administration has come under fire for its handling of widespread protests calling for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis. Critics have said that Trump was too heavy-handed in his response, including apparent threats to shoot looters and the use of federal law enforcement officials to forcefully break up a peaceful protest outside the White House.
Other top members of the administration have pushed back against the claims that systemic racism exists or that it is prevalent in America’s policing and justice system. As Axios reported, Attorney General William Barr said during a CNN appearance this week that the idea there is an “epidemic” of police shooting unarmed Black men is “simply a false narrative.”
“I don’t think that that necessarily reflects some deep-seated racism in police departments or in most police officers,” he said. “I think the same kind of behavior is done by African American police officers.”
Trump, too, has pushed back against the idea that there is systemic racism in America’s policing. During a visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, this week in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, Trump said that the issue of discriminatory policing was just the work of some “bad apples” and not indicative of a larger problem.
While the president and his administration have been consistent in pushing back against those who paint the nation as inherently racist, critics have claimed that Trump’s own racially charged rhetoric has fueled much of the violence seen over the course of the last few months.