Trump downplays the legacy of slavery in the US
President Donald Trump on Thursday stepped up his attempts to appeal to his core white voter base, downplaying the historic legacy of slavery in the United States and denouncing that efforts to deal with systemic racism are divisive.
The president's comments on the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution amount to a defense of white culture and a criticism of Democrats, the press and others, whom he accused of trying to indoctrinate children and shame them for 'whiteness' from their parents.
He also alleged that the founding of the United States set in motion an unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, ensured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism, and built the most prosperous, egalitarian, and just nation in human history. He did not mention the 246 years of slavery in the country, including the 89 years it was allowed to continue after the colonies declared themselves independent from England. Nor did he acknowledge the ongoing fight against racial injustice and police brutality, which have motivated months of protests this year.
Trump has long favored culture wars in the country, including defending the Confederate flag and monuments honoring Civil War rebels from protesters seeking to be removed. His speech Thursday hints that his rhetoric may become even more incisive in the final weeks before the election, as his path to a second term depends largely on generating enthusiasm among conservative white voters.
For many years, radicals have mistaken America's silence for weakness. But they are wrong, Trump said. There is no force more powerful than a father's love for his children, and patriotic fathers and mothers are going to demand that their children no longer be indoctrinated with hateful lies about this country.
Trump has already banned anti-racist training sessions at federal agencies. On Thursday he said he would soon sign an order establishing a commission to promote patriotic education, called the 1776 Commission. The panel, he said, would be tasked with encouraging educators to teach children about the miracle of American history and develop plans for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The measure is a response to the New York Times "Project 1619" that highlights the long-term consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans.
The project began after the New York Times magazine published a series on the 400th anniversary of slavery in the United States. The title is based on the fact that in August 1619 the first ship with African slaves reached the coast of the country.