Christopher F. Rufo, a director at the Discovery Institute, who said his research inspired former President Donald Trump’s decision to abolish critical race theory training at federal agencies last year, announced a legal coalition to fight back after President Joe Biden reversed the move.
“Today, President Biden doubled-down on critical race theory in the federal government. In response, I am announcing a new coalition of legal foundations and private attorneys that will wage relentless legal warfare against race theory in America's institutions. The fight is on,” Rufo said in a statement.
"Critical race theory is a grave threat to the American way of life. It divides Americans by race and traffics in the pernicious concepts of race essentialism, racial stereotyping, and race-based segregation—all under a false pursuit of 'social justice,’” he wrote.
Trump issued an executive order last September to combat “offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” weeks after he directed federal agencies to stop teaching government workers about critical race theory and related concepts like “white privilege.”
“A few weeks ago, I BANNED efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies. Today, I've expanded that ban to people and companies that do business with our Country, the United States Military, Government Contractors, and Grantees. Americans should be taught to take PRIDE in our Great Country, and if you don’t, there’s nothing in it for you!” Trump tweeted at the time.
Critical race theory, as explained by Purdue University, is a theoretical and interpretive mode that examines the appearance of race and racism across dominant cultural modes of expression. Through this framework, scholars seek to understand how victims of systemic racism are affected by cultural perceptions of race and how they are able to represent themselves to counter prejudice. Scholarship on the theory traces racism in America through the legacy of slavery, the civil rights movement and recent events.
On Wednesday, in one of his first executive actions as America’s 46th president, Biden rescinded Trump’s diversity training order in its entirety.
“Executive Order 13950 of September 22, 2020 (Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping), is hereby revoked,” Biden wrote in the order published by The White House.
“Our Nation deserves an ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda that matches the scale of the opportunities and challenges that we face. It is therefore the policy of my Administration that the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality,” Biden’s order states.
Several Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, had also called on the government to back off the order as there is "much-needed efforts in our states to reduce race and sex-based discrimination."
Media star Megyn Kelly, meanwhile, appeared to throw her support behind Rufo in a retweet of his statement Wednesday, noting: "THIS IS THE ANSWER. THE LAW. These indoctrination sessions are unlawful. Studies have shown they create *more,* not less, racism. Good for you @realchrisrufo.”