President Trump has issued an executive order banning all training based on Critical Race Theory (CRT) for those who work with the federal government, labeling such ideas “destructive.” This follows soon after a presidential memo sought to bar these practices from government agencies. Although CRT is not mentioned by name, the implications are clear: no more race division at the taxpayers’ expense.
As is his wont, the president announced the new order via his preferred channel, tweeting:
“A few weeks ago, I BANNED efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies. Today, I’ve expanded that ban to people and companies that do business … with our Country, the United States Military, Government Contractors, and Grantees. Americans should be taught to take PRIDE in our Great Country, and if you don’t, there’s nothing in it for you!”
The news will be seen as an escalation of hostilities by those committed to the intersectional agenda, and they may be right. Not only has this undercut CRT’s unassailable bastion in federal agencies, it also veers into the realms of those who seek to work or contract for the federal government.
In his EO, the president made a case that such “training” undermines existing statutes:
“Our Federal civil service system is based on merit principles. These principles, codified at 5 U.S.C. 2301, call for all employees to ‘receive fair and equitable treatment in all aspects of personnel management without regard to’ race or sex ‘and with proper regard for their … constitutional rights.’ Instructing Federal employees that treating individuals on the basis of individual merit is racist or sexist directly undermines our Merit System Principles and impairs the efficiency of the Federal service.”
What of those who work in the private sector? Are they to be left to fend for themselves? Apparently not. The executive order instructs the attorney general to assess whether CRT training courses may contribute to a “hostile work environment,” and if they would “give rise to potential liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.”
But it is for contractors who plan to continue working with the government that the most heavyweight directions come into play:
“The contractor shall not use any workplace training that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.”
What this means in practice is that there will be no more disparaging of people based upon their color or sex and that to insist otherwise through any form of Critical Race Theory training would be tantamount to a form of racism or sexism itself.
Timing, Timing, Timing
Critically, President Trump’s announcement comes in the run-up to the 2020 election. For those of his supporters who may be wavering, this is a diet of pure red meat designed to bring them back into the fold. The president has presented this as a battle for the soul of America.
The order states that all institutions impacted must fall into line and report within 90 days, yet another clear message aimed to show the undecided voter that this battle is only won with Trump’s re-election. His framing of the argument is that this will be a boon for equality and that individuals shall no longer be judged negatively by the color of their skin or their sex. It would take a brave opposition to try and fight that position.
Read more from Mark Angelides.