Memo says federal employees could be punished for banned diversity trainings

President Donald Trump’s budget director sent additional guidance to federal agencies Monday on employee training programs the White House deems anti-American propaganda.

In the new memo, Russell Vought warned federal employees found to be conducting the type of trainings Trump wants to outlaw — including those on critical race theory and unconscious bias — could face punishment.
“Agency employees and contractors are not to engage in divisive training of Federal workers. Noncompliance by continuing with prohibited training will result in consequences, which may include adverse action for Federal employees who violate the Order,” reads the memo sent by Vought, the director of the Office of Management and Budget Director.
Trump has consistently sided against efforts to reckon with America’s fraught racial past and has claimed some of those efforts amount to an erasure of history. At the same time, he has stoked racial divisions by defending the display of Confederate symbols while calling Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate.”
    Trump’s attempt to stamp out federal anti-racism training programs appears, somewhat paradoxically, part of a broader push against so-called “cancel culture,” which he has described as forcing political correctness on unwilling Americans.
    Early last month, Trump’s budget office said in a memo federal agencies must alter their racial sensitivity training programs, citing “press reports” about sessions where federal employees were told “virtually all white people contribute to racism” or where they were required to say that they “benefit from racism.”
    “It has come to the president’s attention that executive branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda,” the earlier memo read.
    In the latest memo sent on Monday, OMB lays out the steps agencies are now required to take to identify their employee training programs and determine whether they meet the criteria laid out in the earlier notice.
    The memo says agencies must identify all “training programs related to diversity and inclusion” during the past fiscal year and how much was spent on them. Agencies must also determine whether the content of the trainings violated Trump’s edict.
    The memo suggests a “keyword search” of agency financial data for terms including: “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” “intersectionality,” “systemic racism,” “positionality,” “racial humility” and “unconscious bias.”
      Agencies have until November 20 to provide the information to OMB and must designate a senior political appointee to review diversity and inclusiveness training going forward, the memo mandates.
      Vought writes in the memo the White House is not seeking to end all federal training programs meant to promote diversity — only those that seek to sow “division among the workforce by attempting to prescribe and impose upon employees a conformity of belief in ideologies that label entire groups of Americans as inherently racist or evil.”

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