WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said at Tuesday’s first presidential debate that he moved to end racial sensitivity training that addresses white privilege and critical race theory at federal agencies because “it’s racist.”
Trump’s administration moved to halt employee training at federal agencies on topics that include “white privilege” and “critical race theory” earlier this month.
“I ended it because a lot of people were complaining that they were asked to do things that were absolutely insane, that it was a radical revolution that was taking place in our military, in our schools all over the place,” Trump said during the first presidential debate Tuesday night.
The president claimed racial sensitivity training taught people to “hate our country.”
“We have to go back to the core values of this country. They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place, it’s a racist place, and they were teaching people to hate our country, and I’m not gonna allow that,” he said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden shot back that racial insensitivity training helped to make people aware of what’s demeaning to others.
“It’s a little bit like how this guy and his friends looked down on so many people, they look down their nose on people like Irish Catholics like me and grew up in Scranton and looked down on people who don’t have money,” Biden said. “They look down on people who are of a different faith, they look down on people who are (a) different color.”
“He’s the racist,” Biden also said of Trump during a back-and-forth over Trump’s decision to expand the ban on racial sensitivity training to federal contractors.
Trump’s Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping targets workplace training that is “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country.”
It instructs corporations to halt any training “that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating” or risk having their government contracts canceled.
Corporate anti-racism initiatives have surged following the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans who have died this year at the hands of police.
Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis police custody after a white officer pinned him to the ground under his knee. His death sparked demonstrations against police brutality and racial discrimination in cities across the United States.
The president’s decision to expand the ban on anti-racism training to federal contractors is fueling fears the White House order will deal a crippling setback to corporate efforts to increase workplace equality and address race and gender disparities.
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