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Politics & Policy

State Department Suspends Diversity Training

People walk past the State Department Building in Washington, D.C., January 26, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The State Department confirmed Sunday that it has suspended a diversity training program for employees but assured it is still committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace.

The department paused the diversity training after President Trump issued an executive order directing agencies to end the “divisive” programs, according to an internal State Department cable obtained by Reuters.

“As an Executive Branch Agency, the Department of State complies with all Executive Orders,” a State Department spokesman told Reuters Sunday. “Department leadership continues to encourage the workforce to engage in inclusive conversations and other efforts to promote diversity and inclusion consistent with the E.O.”

Trump issued an executive order last month requiring federal agencies to “cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions” and directing the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance on implementing the order. The order forbade agencies from putting taxpayer dollars toward “un-American propaganda sessions” that “taught that the United States is an inherently racist or evil” country.

In the internal cable, the State Department said it is “temporarily pausing all training programs related to diversity and inclusion” starting October 23.

“The pause will allow time for the Department and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to review program content,” the cable read.

Nevertheless, some agencies appeared not to comply immediately with the order.

Later in September, the CDC debuted a critical race theory training program to address the country’s “white supremacist ideology.”

The program said it would teach CDC employees how to “examine the mechanisms of systemic racism.” The training sessions also advised employees that they must “target” certain “societal barriers to achieving health equity” including a “narrow focus on the individual,” the “myth of American exceptionalism,” and the “myth of meritocracy,” defined as, “If you work hard you will make it.” Finally, the training encouraged and instructed CDC employees to take action on racism, including on “policy and legislation.”

Asked about the executive order to suspend the training programs at the first presidential debate last month, Trump said the programs were “racist” and “teaching people that our country is a horrible place.”

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