Trump on Critical Race Theory in Schools: ‘A Program for National Suicide’

June 18, 2021 Updated: June 18, 2021

Former President Donald Trump has weighed in on the national debate over the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools, urging lawmakers and parents across the nation to act against what he called “toxic” and “anti-American” indoctrination.

“In classrooms across the nation, students are being subjected to a new curriculum designed to brainwash them with the ridiculous left-wing dogma known as ‘critical race theory,'” Trump wrote in an op-ed published Friday on RealClearPolitics. “The key fact about this twisted doctrine is that it is completely antithetical to everything that normal Americans of any color would wish to teach their children.”

The CRT is rooted in the Marxist theory of class struggle, but with a particular focus on race. Proponents of CRT see racism in every aspect of the American public and private life, and seek to dismantle American institutions—such as the Constitution and legal system—which they deem to be inherently and irredeemably racist.

The effort to promote CRT in K-12 education drew national attention in April when the Education Department proposed a rule to prioritize funding U.S. history and civics programs that incorporate the works of critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi and the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which centers around the idea that America was founded as, and remains today, a racist nation.

“Instead of helping young people discover that America is the greatest, most tolerant, and most generous nation in history, it teaches them that America is systemically evil and that the hearts of our people are full of hatred and malice,” Trump wrote. “Teaching even one child these divisive messages would verge on psychological abuse.”

“Indoctrinating generations of children with these extreme ideas is not just immoral—it is a program for national suicide,” Trump continued, criticizing the Biden administration for undoing steps his administration has taken to combat the prevalence of CRT.

On his first day in the White House, President Joe Biden dissolved the Trump administration’s advisory 1776 Commission and tossed its first and last report. A ban on the use of training materials based on “divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies” in federal agencies and federal contractors was also lifted upon Biden’s inauguration.

In a call to action, Trump urged every “concerned parent in America” to demand their state to pass a ban on taxpayer dollars going to school district or workplace that teaches CRT. He also suggested each state create its own 1776 Commission to examine the public school curriculum and ensure that students are receiving a “patriotic, pro-American education,” and to set their own versions of Teach for America to get “passionate and patriotic” K-12 educators.

As students return to the classroom, Trump said, states need to pass laws requiring that all lesson plans have to be made available to parents. “Every handout, article, and reading should be posted on an online portal that allows parents to see what their kids are being taught,” he wrote.

“A nation is only as strong as its spirit,” Trump wrote. “For our children, we must act before it is too late.”

Trump’s comments come as efforts to incorporate elements of CRT into American classrooms face intense pushback. States that have banned or restricted the teaching of CRT in public schools include Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas, while more than a dozen states are considering or have partially imposed similar restrictions.