The Slatest

Trump Calls on Federal Agencies to Nix “Divisive” Racial Sensitivity Training

President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a news conference the White House on September 4, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a news conference the White House on September 4, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The White House is calling on federal government agencies to put a stop to racial sensitive trainings. The head of the Office of Management and Budget, Russel Vought, released a memo late Friday in which he said Trump had come to realize that federal government agencies are spending millions of dollars on programs that espouse “divisive, anti-American propaganda” on government workers. Vought added the president had called on him to “ensure that federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.”

The memo refers to “press reports” to lay out examples of what these training sessions sometimes involve. The memo alleges government workers “are told that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism’.” It also cites “press reports” to note that these training programs “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 training programs “engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce” and “undercut our core values as Americans.” Vought wrote that the OMB will shortly “issue more detailed guidance” on the issue. But for now, he called on all agencies to identify 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.”

It is unclear what training programs are described in the memo but Fox News has aired segments recently criticizing diversity training programs. Star anchor Tucker Carlson aired an interview this past week with a researcher who blasted “critical race theory” and claimed it had become standard ideology in the federal government. The researcher had outright called on Trump to sign an executive order banning training that focused on racial sensitivity issue and celebrated Friday night after the memo was released. Trump was apparently very proud of himself Saturday morning for the action and retweeted some 20 messages that celebrated the White House memo.

For more of Slate’s political coverage, subscribe to the Political Gabfest on Apple Podcasts or listen below.