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Trump announces ‘1776 Commission’ to promote ‘patriotic education’

Former President Donald J. Trump. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
September 18, 2020

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced plans to establish a national commission to promote patriotic education.

Speaking on Thursday at the National Archives Museum for the first-ever White House Conference on American History, Trump said, “I will soon sign an Executive Order establishing a national commission to promote patriotic education. It will be called the ‘1776 Commission.’”

Trump’s announcement of a patriotic education commission coincided with the 233 anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, celebrated on Thursday as Constitution Day.

Trump explained his decision to form the patriotic education commission as a pushback on the teaching of critical race theory in U.S. universities and institutions.

The president has made past efforts to stop the teaching of the controversial theory. On Sept. 4, Office of Management and Budget director Russell Vought, at Trump’s direction, ordered the discontinuation of government employee training that is based on critical race theory.

Speaking Thursday, Trump said, “This is a Marxist doctrine holding that America is a wicked and racist nation, that even young children are complicit in oppression, and that our entire society must be radically transformed. Critical race theory is being forced into our children’s schools, it’s being imposed into workplace trainings, and it’s being deployed to rip apart friends, neighbors, and families.”

Trump pointed to examples of critical race theory in practice, such as a document published by the Smithsonian Insititute which he said “alleged that concepts such as hard work, rational thinking, the nuclear family, and belief in God were not values that unite all Americans, but were instead aspects of ‘whiteness.'”

Trump also criticized the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which has the stated purpose to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” Trump said the project instead “rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Trump said, “America’s founding set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism, and built the most fair, equal, and prosperous nation in human history.”

Trump said the narratives promoted by critical race theory “bear a striking resemblance to the anti-American propaganda of our adversaries.”

He also said teaching critical race theory to children “is a form of child abuse in the truest sense of those words.”

“Patriotic moms and dads are going to demand that their children are no longer fed hateful lies about this country,” Trump said. “American parents are not going to accept indoctrination in our schools, cancel culture at our work, or the repression of traditional faith, culture, and values in the public square. Not anymore.”

Trump said, “The only path to national unity is through our shared identity as Americans. That is why it is so urgent that we finally restore patriotic education to our schools.”

Trump said the commission will include the goal to “encourage our educators to teach our children about the miracle of American history and make plans to honor the 250th anniversary of our founding.”

The 250th anniversary of Independence Day is on July 4, 2026.