Trump’s ‘1776 Report’ released on MLK Day receives heavy backlash

The 1776 Report — written by the commission ordered by President Trump in response to The New York Times’s 1619 Project — has received scathing rebukes from historians and civil rights groups since its release on Monday, a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Published in the waning hours of Trump’s presidency, the 45-page report goes after critical race theory, which asserts that racism has always been and continues to be inherently imbued within the institutions of America.

“Donald Trump has always attempted to use a fictional version of the past to justify racist policies,” ReNika Moore, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, said in a statement.

“As such, it is only fitting that in the final days of his term as president, and on the day we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King Jr., his administration released a report that pushes a white supremacist version of our nation’s history, justifies slavery as ‘more the rule than the exception throughout human history,’ and compares members of the opposing political party to fascist dictators,” Moore added. 

Boston University historian Ibram X. Kendi also pushed back on the report, saying in a series of tweets, “This report makes it seems as if … those espousing identity politics today resemble proslavery theorists like John C. Calhoun; that since the civil rights movement, Black people have been given ‘privileges’ and ‘preferential treatment’ in nearly every sector of society, which is news to Black people.”

The report argues that Americans must “stand up to the petty tyrants in every sphere who demand that we speak only of America’s sins while denying her greatness” while not “ignoring the faults in our past.”

“[A]ll Americans must reject false and fashionable ideologies that obscure facts, ignore historical context, and tell America’s story solely as one of oppression and victimhood rather than one of imperfection but also unprecedented achievement toward freedom, happiness, and fairness for all,” it goes on to state.

The commission was led by a group of conservatives and Trump allies who aren’t credentialed historians, including Larry Arnn, conservative television analyst Carol Swain, Charlie Kirk, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) and Brooke Rollins, the president’s domestic policy adviser.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt were also named in the report as ex officio members.

During his presidency, Trump has dismissed the existence of systemic racism in the country, and expressed his disdain for critical race theory.

He drew ire from civil rights groups in September when he signed an executive order banning federal agencies, contractors and grant recipients from conducting diversity training, which he described as “anti-American.”

“By viewing every issue through the lens of race, they want to impose a new segregation, and we must not allow that to happen,” Trump said in September when he initially announced the 1776 Commission.

“Critical race theory, the 1619 Project and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison, that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together, will destroy our country,” he added. 

When reached by The Hill on Tuesday, the White House didn’t offer additional comment on the report.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson said that he had yet to look at the report, but noted that the incoming Biden administration has a responsibility to “focus on racial equity” and undo the “harm that the Trump administration caused on our democracy.”

Tags 1619 project 1776 Report ACLU Ben Carson Critical race theory Donald Trump Donald Trump Mike Pompeo NAACP racial justice

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