Story at a glance

  • The group, which includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens of state and city chambers of commerce, sent a letter to the White House Thursday saying the order has had a chilling effect on legitimate diversity and inclusion training and causes confusion among employers.
  • “We urge you to withdraw the Executive Order and work with the business and nonprofit communities on an approach that would support appropriate workplace training programs,” the group said.
  • The push against such diversity training programs by the Trump administration comes as the U.S. is in the midst of a racial reckoning following the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police.

More than 150 business and nonprofit groups are calling on President Trump to withdraw his executive order that prohibits the federal government, as well as its contractors, subcontractors and grantees, from offering diversity training programs on racial and gender biases, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The group, which includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens of state and city chambers of commerce, sent a letter to the White House Thursday saying the order has had a chilling effect on legitimate diversity and inclusion training and causes confusion among employers.


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“Many of our members are federal contractors and subcontractors that will be covered by this E.O. As currently written, we believe the E.O. will create confusion and uncertainty, lead to non-meritorious investigations, and hinder the ability of employers to implement critical programs to promote diversity and combat discrimination in the workplace,” the letter states. 

“We urge you to withdraw the Executive Order and work with the business and nonprofit communities on an approach that would support appropriate workplace training programs,” the group said. 

The Trump administration in early September instructed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training that addressed topics such as white privilege, systemic racism, intersectionality and critical race theory, calling them “divisive, anti-American propaganda.” On Sept. 22, Trump signed an executive order extending the ban on racial sensitivity training to federal contractors. 

“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!” Trump tweeted last month. 

The group in the letter said federal contractors are firmly committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce but that the executive order “does not help contractors in this regard, and in fact creates several significant obstacles and impediments.” 

The push against such diversity training programs by the Trump administration comes as the U.S. is in the midst of a racial reckoning following the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police. Widespread protests have consumed American cities for months following the May 25 death of George Floyd, bringing the issues of racial inequality and police brutality in the U.S. to the forefront of the national conversation. 


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Published on Oct 16, 2020