On Thursday, Sept. 17, President Donald Trump announced that he would establish a new commission purposed with restoring “pro-American education” to schools across the nation.
Speaking from the National Archives Museum in Washington during the first-ever White House Conference on American History, Trump said the he would sign an executive order to create the “1776 Commission,” which will work to counter the idea that “America is a wicked and racist nation,” by promoting “patriotic education.”
“We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country,” the president said.
“The left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies. There is no better example than the New York Times’ totally discredited 1619 Project.”
The New York Times unveiled the 1619 Project in August of last year in commemoration of the date on which the first Africans were brought to the shores of Virginia as slaves. The ongoing project seeks to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones, who authored the opening essay of the project, won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary earlier this year.
The president claimed the project teaches children that “we were founded on oppression, not freedom.”
Trump added that “patriotic moms and dads” will demand their children not be “fed hateful lies.” Last month he threatened to deny federal funding to schools that teach the project. The project is taught in many schools across the country and has been adapted to be taught at all grade levels.
During the speech, Trump vowed to restore “patriotic education” to schools through the 1776 Commission, which will be established through the signing of an executive order.
He also announced that a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities will support the development of the “pro-American curriculum.”
“Our youth will be taught to love America with all of their heart and all of their souls,” he said.
His plans to establish a new, patriotic curriculum were meant with swift criticism.
Susan Rice, former ambassador to the United Nations, responded to Trump’s speech saying: “This was one of the most astonishing speeches I’ve heard him give. He talks about promoting patriotic education. I thought I was listening to Mao Tse-tung running communist China. We don’t have a patriotic system of education where the dear leader tells the people what they must learn.”
Dr. Ibram Kendi, a Boston University professor and author of New York Times Bestseller “How to Be an Antiracist,” called Trump’s patriotic education proposal “racist.”
Lawyer and activist Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said the curriculum was “code for white supremacy.”