Trump Defends Decision to End Critical Race Theory Training

'They Were Teaching People to Hate Our Country'
September 29, 2020 Updated: September 30, 2020

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night defended his recent decision to end critical race theory training in federal agencies, arguing that federal funds shouldn’t be used to teach what he described as “very bad” and “very sick” ideas.

When asked why he ended critical race theory and whether he believes that there is systemic racism in the United States, Trump told debate host Chris Wallace that he terminated such training because it is “racist” and that people who underwent the training complained about being asked to do things that were “absolutely insane.”

“It was a radical revolution that was taking place in our military, in our schools,” Trump said. “You know it and so does everybody else.”

“What is radical about racial sensitivity training?” asked Wallace, cutting off the president’s statement.

“If you were a certain person, you had no status in life. It was sort of a reversal,” Trump continued. “And if you look at the people, we were paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach very bad ideas and frankly, very sick ideas.”

trump during debate
President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

“We have to go back to the core values of this country,” Trump added. “They were teaching people to hate our country, that it’s a horrible place, it’s a racist place, and they were teaching people to hate our country. And I’m not going to allow that to happen.”

Meanwhile, Biden said he believes systemic racial injustice exists in the country, and that people should be able to peacefully protest about it.

“There’s systemic injustice in this country in education, in work and law enforcement, and the way it is enforced,” the former vice president said.

Earlier this month, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought wrote in a memo (pdf) that Trump has instructed all federal agencies to begin to identify and direct funds away from any training on “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” or any other “training or propaganda effort” that teaches or suggests either that the United States is an “inherently racist or evil country” or that any race or ethnicity is “inherently racist or evil.”

Trump said last Tuesday that he had signed an executive order, extending the ban on “efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies” to contractors providing training for federal employees and those receiving federal dollars.

“Americans should be taught to take PRIDE in our Great Country, and if you don’t there’s nothing in it for you!” he wrote on Twitter at the time.