On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Trump administration released the ahistorical 1776 Commission report, which is a blatantly racist rewrite of history that includes misleading information about the Civil Rights Movement and attacks multiculturalism. The creation of this revisionist document requires deep scrutiny and investigation. The Commission, whose board was filled with members of right-wing organizations and conservative think tanks, appears to have been created in reaction to the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which provided a different perspective on American history by centering the consequences of slavery and contributions of Black Americans. The 1776 Commission’s report was a reaffirmation of the Trump administration’s commitment to racism above all else, including any semblance of scholarly integrity. In fact, it reportedly lifted language directly from an op-ed by one of its board members and also re-used language from the Heritage Foundation that excused the Founding Fathers for owning slaves. Trump’s willingness to use every part of his public office to advance his own agenda, whether through promoting his businesses or his racist ideas, is a profound abuse of power, and the public deserves to know details of how this report came to be.
CREW has requested all records from the Department of Education through the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) on the 1776 Commission, including transcripts, meeting minutes, report drafts, and other relevant records.
This would not be the first time that the Trump administration pursued blatantly racist policies and narratives to benefit rich white men at the expense of everyone else. Between Trump’s cravenly corrupt pardons that demonstrated that his justice is reserved for the wealthy and those who line his pockets, as well as his failure to deploy the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection despite deploying significant numbers of troops in response to racial justice protests this summer, there is no shortage of examples that demonstrate how Trump’s America was only intended to work for a privileged few. The 1776 Commission stands right with these actions, and the public deserves to know just how much of a hand special interest groups had in formulating this openly racist, ahistorical report, and exactly how it came to be.