President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he is prohibiting government contractors and grantees from offering racial sensitivity and diversity training to employees.
In a series of tweets, Trump wrote, “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!”
Russell Vought, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, confirmed that the president had signed the executive order. He celebrated on Twitter: “This is another important step that builds off his directive to agencies to stop trainings that push a radical anti-American agenda.” Vought’s office oversees federal employee workplace training.
It wasn’t immediately clear what “sex-based ideology” Trump was referring to in his tweet, but the executive order references “materials teaching that men and members of certain races … are inherently sexist and racist.” It was not apparent if that means the ban also applies to sexual harassment training.
The executive order defines “race or sex scapegoating” as “assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex. It similarly encompasses any claim that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of his or her race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others.”
The order also reads, “Our Uniformed Services should not teach our heroic men and women in uniform the lie that the country for which they are willing to die is fundamentally racist. Such teachings could directly threaten the cohesion and effectiveness of our Uniformed Services.”
The Commander in Chief signed a similar executive order in early September directing government agencies to cancel any contracts for training sessions that mentioned “white privilege” or “critical race theory.”
Both Vought and Trump have argued that materials that present the United States as a racist country are “disparaging” and “un-American.” The federal government spends millions of dollars per year on such employee training.
The order did not specify what the penalties would be levied against contractors that do require employees to undergo sensitivity training sessions. Fox News has repeatedly criticized diversity and inclusion efforts in the federal government and its procurement processes dealing with outside contractors begun under President Obama. Studies have found that the federal government disproportionately awards contracts to businesses owned by white people.