On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that he would sign an executive order to launch a “1776 Commission” for American patriotism in education, countering the Marxist critical race theory of The New York Times‘ “1619 Project.” In his remarks, Trump tied the deadly and destructive riots that broke out across America this summer to the noxious ideology of Marxist critical race theory and championed the virtues of America’s founding in opposition to the “twisted web of lies” undermining American patriotism.
“Our mission is to defend the legacy of America’s founding, the virtue of America’s heroes, and the nobility of the American character. We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms, and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country,” Trump declared.
He noted that on this day in 1787, America adopted the U.S. Constitution. He hailed the Constitution as “the fulfillment of a thousand years of Western civilization. No political document has done more to advance the human condition or propel the engine of progress. A radical movement is attempting to demolish this treasured inheritance. We can’t let that happen.”
Marxism, riots, and the 1619 Project
“Left-wing mobs have torn down statues of our Founders, desecrated our memorials, and carried out a campaign of violence and anarchy,” Trump noted. “Far-left demonstrators have chanted the words ‘America was never great.’ The Left has launched a vicious and violent assault on law enforcement, the universal symbol of the rule of law in America. These radicals have been aided and abetted by liberal politicians, establishment media, and even large corporations.”
“Whether it is the mob on the street or the cancel culture in the board room, the goal is the same: to silence dissent, to scare you out of speaking the truth, and to bully Americans into abandoning their values, their heritage, and their very way of life,” Trump warned.
Referencing his powerful speech at Mount Rushmore, the president warned that “the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of left-wing indoctrination in our schools.”
“Our children are instructed from propaganda tracts, like those of Howard Zinn, that try to make students ashamed of their own history. The Left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies,” Trump declared. Indeed, Mary Grabar’s new book Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation Against America explains how Zinn twisted the truth to demonize America.
The president also castigated the 1619 Project. “This project rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. America’s founding set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism, and built the most fair, equal, and prosperous nation in human history,” he declared.
Trump compared Zinn’s propaganda and the 1619 Project to “the anti-American propaganda of our adversaries” overseas.
He also warned that “students in our universities are inundated with critical race theory. This is a Marxist doctrine holding that America is a wicked and racist nation, that even young children are complicit in oppression, and that our entire society must be radically transformed.” Trump warned that critical race theory has been injected into schools and even employee work trainings.
The president also gave a chilling example of Marxist critical race theory: a document the Smithsonian published and later retracted. “This document alleged that concepts such as hard work, rational thinking, and the nuclear family and belief in God were not values that unite all Americans but were instead aspects of ‘whiteness.’ This is offensive and outrageous to Americans of every ethnicity, and it’s especially harmful to children of minority backgrounds who should be uplifted, not disparaged.”
“Teaching this horrible doctrine is a form of child abuse in the truest sense of those words,” Trump declared.
“American parents are not going to accept indoctrination in our schools, cancel culture in our work, or the repression of traditional faith, culture, and values in the public square. Not anymore,” he pledged.
The president warned that “by viewing every issue through the lens of race, [leftists] want to impose a new segregation. Critical race theory, the 1619 Project, and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, that if not removed will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together.”
To combat this, he has launched initiatives to craft a pro-American curriculum and honor America’s heroes.
“Our heroes will never be forgotten, our youth will be taught to love America with all of their heart and all of their soul,” the president promised. “We will save this cherished inheritance.”
Trump is right to condemn Marxist critical race theory
While the president’s insistence that America’s youth will be taught “to love America with all of their heart and all of their soul” went too far, he was entirely right to counter the destructive lies of Marxist critical race theory and the 1619 Project and to connect them to the violent riots across America this summer.
When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. When Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post “Call them the 1619 riots,” 1619 Project Founder Nikole Hannah-Jones responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.
Portland activist Lilith Sinclair provided a chilling example of Marxist critical race theory and its ability to inspire an aimless revolution. “There’s still a lot of work to undo the harm of colonized thought that has been pushed onto Black and indigenous communities,” she said. As examples of “colonized thought,” she mentioned Christianity and the “gender binary.” She said she organizes for “the abolition of … the “United States as we know it.”
Trump was also right to condemn left-leaning journalists and politicians for covering for the riots, which have proved the most destructive (in terms of insurance claims) in U.S. history. While Democratic nominee Joe Biden has condemned violent looting and arson, he refused to condemn antifa or Black Lives Matter agitators, instead attacking “right-wing militias” as if they were the true instigators of violence.
While leftists repeat claims of “institutional racism,” the riots have victimized the black community. The destruction disproportionately hit black communities in Kenosha, Wisc., Minneapolis, and Chicago. The riots destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 26 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.
For these and other reasons, many black leaders have denounced the official Black Lives Matter movement, the founders of which have described themselves as “trained Marxists.” Over 100 black pastors recently condemned the Black Lives Matter movement and urged Nike to distance itself from it.
Trump’s remarks came one day after civil rights veteran Robert Woodson released his “1776 Unites” curriculum for high school, aiming to teach inspiring stories of black Americans who embraced the Founding principles and achieved their own American dreams. His vision of black resilience and agency counters the victimhood culture of Marxist critical race theory.
Trump was also correct to champion the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day. Democrats have attacked various aspects of the Constitution, from the Senate to the Supreme Court to the Electoral College, aiming to change the terms of America’s political arrangement.
After the riots and these attacks to the Constitution, the 2020 election is forcing America to choose between the Constitution and a radical ideology of aimless revolution. Trump has chosen the right side in that contest, and Americans should vote accordingly.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 17, 2020
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.