Army probing how 'MAGA' was listed as 'covert white supremacy' in handout

The Army is looking into how a handout distributed at a base in Alabama this week initially described the phrase “Make America Great Again” as a form of “covert white supremacy.”

The document, given out at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville on Monday, included a pyramid graphic that identified President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE’s 2016 campaign slogan as a form of covert or socially acceptable white supremacy, along with the phrase “All Lives Matter” and the "celebration of Columbus Day."

The handout was part of the Pentagon’s Project Inclusion, a listening tour designed to identify and quell racial disparity within the military. The two pages with the graphic had not been approved by service leadership and “were sent out in error and immediately recalled,” Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement.


“The slides – copied from a non-government website – included a word cloud with phrases that were intended to spark conversation; however, the document was predecisional and inappropriate for the discussion. The unapproved pages were in no way used as part of  the ‘Your Voice Matters’ listening tour sessions,” Smith said.

Smith added that the Army “does not condone the use of phrases that indicate political support,” though the statement does not mention the MAGA phrase.

“The Army is and will continue to remain an apolitical organization,” Smith said.

The document has since caught the attention of Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksGOP congressman says person responsible for deleted Perdue campaign ad should be 'outed', 'fired' House passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys Overnight Defense: Army launches command probe after slaying at Fort Hood | 'MAGA' listed as 'covert white supremacy' in military handout MORE (R-Ala.), who sent a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyMaryland GOP governor: Fauci has 'never let me' down Trump mocks push to rename Fort Bragg: 'We're going to name it after the Rev. Al Sharpton?' Pentagon mulling plan to ban Confederate flag without mentioning it by name: report MORE on Wednesday arguing the included slides violated the Hatch Act, a 1939 law that restricts political activity by federal employees.

“Including overtly political materials in the invitation for such an event is completely inappropriate and, in this instance and in my view, illegal,” Brooks wrote. “Further, the inclusion of such materials serves only to ostracize segments of the workforce and create racial division, rather than minimize it.”


Brooks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, called for an investigation into whether the document violated the Hatch Act, while requesting that all Army personnel who “drafted, approved or sent this racist and politically partisan email, using government resources” be prosecuted and fired for “blatantly and illegally injecting themselves into partisan political activities on government time using federal taxpayer money.”

The debacle around the document comes as top Pentagon leaders are mulling the removal of Confederate symbols and names on military installations following nationwide protests over racial injustice.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Thursday that the U.S. military must take a “hard look” at the use of Confederate statues, names and other symbols at bases and Defense Department facilities.