President Donald Trump has been pushing back against the narrative that America is an intrinsically racist nation, often by highlighting the American founders who have helped make it a more perfect union.
Along those lines, he announced this week an executive order establishing a new commission meant to promote “patriotic education” in advance of America’s 250th anniversary, as reported by the Washington Times.
“A series of domestic crises”
Trump revealed details about the 1776 Commission in a statement on Tuesday.
According to his remarks, he signed the order while aboard Air Force One en route to one of his final campaign rallies.
He told a crowd of supporters that the move was intended “to teach our students pro-American values.”
I just signed an executive order to teach our students PRO-AMERICAN Values! pic.twitter.com/WjPo7Qgooz
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2020
The order laid out the nation’s founding principles, explaining that throughout its “national life, our Republic’s exploration of the full meaning of these principles has led it through the ratification of a Constitution, civil war, the abolition of slavery, Reconstruction, and a series of domestic crises and world conflicts.”
“A clear historical record”
That history, the order continued, “establish a clear historical record of an exceptional Nation dedicated to the ideas and ideals of its founding.”
Nevertheless, the Trump administration argued that, at least in the near past, the nation’s young people have received a substandard historical education.
“Against this history, in recent years, a series of polemics grounded in poor scholarship has vilified our Founders and our founding,” the order asserted. “Despite the virtues and accomplishments of this Nation, many students are now taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but rather villains.”
Furthermore, Trump’s order noted that other efforts, particularly the 1619 Project backed by The New York Times, ignored or overlooked “our country’s valiant and successful effort to shake off the curse of slavery and to use the lessons of that struggle to guide our work toward equal rights for all citizens in the present.”
He referenced the commission during a speech in September: “Our mission is to defend the legacy of America’s founding, the virtue of America’s heroes and the nobility of the American character. We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country.”