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Trump calls for 'patriotic education,' says anti-racism teachings are 'child abuse'

"Our youth will be taught to love America with all of their heart and all of their souls," the president said.
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump during the White House Conference on American History at the National Archives Museum in Washington on Thursday.Alex Brandon / AP

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump accused schools of teaching students "hateful lies about this country" and said he would be taking steps to "restore patriotic education" as he continued his opposition to efforts to raise awareness about racial inequalities.

Speaking at what the White House described as a "conference on American history," Trump said that he plans to sign an executive order soon to create a "national commission to support patriotic education" called the 1776 Commission and that he is directing funding to create a patriotic curriculum for schools.

"Our youth will be taught to love America with all of their heart and all of their souls," Trump said. The White House declined to say when Trump would sign the executive order.

Trump said the framing of history around race was "toxic propaganda" and "a form of child abuse in the truest sense of those words" — specifically calling out critical race theory, a concept that was started around the idea that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist. He accused Democrats of pushing education that makes students "ashamed" of America's history.

He also took aim at the 1619 Project, a New York Times-backed initiative that focused on the "consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country." The project, which won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, was released last year to coincide with the anniversary of slaves' being brought to the Virginia Colony 400 years ago.

Trump has been increasingly opposing anti-racism education efforts while denying that the country has a problem with racial inequality. When asked about the country's history of racial discrimination at a town hall gathering this week, Trump said "I hope there's not a race problem" before going on to talk about his support in the polls from Black voters.

The Office of Management and Budget issued a directive this month prohibiting departments from using federal funds to administer diversity training that incorporates teachings about critical race theory and white privilege. Trump also threatened to cut off funding for schools that teach the 1619 Project.