Trump threatens funding for CA if schools use New York Times' 1619 Project, curriculum focused on slavery, Black Americans

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump threatened to cut off funding to California schools for their use of the New York Times' 1619 Project, an initiative that aims to reframe the nation's history with a focus on the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans.

This comes two days after Trump directed the Office of Management and Budget to crack down on federal agencies' anti-racism training sessions, calling them "divisive, anti-American propaganda."

The president Saturday retweeted a Sept. 1 post from an account called "Ocitman," an account with less than 200 followers at the time, which read, "california has implemented the 1619 project into the public schools. soon you wont recognize america."

He then tweeted: "Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!"

The Times launched the ongoing 1619 Project in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery, according to its website. It won a Pulitzer Prize for its collection of essays, and the project also includes visuals, a podcast and literary works.

A complimentary 1619 Project curriculum is available online for free through the center. Some schools have announced they'll adopt their project into their lessons.

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Former vice president Joe Biden delivered a scathing condemnation of President Trump, pointing to an article in The Atlantic alleging Trump referred to dead American veterans as "suckers" and "losers."

OMB director Russell Vought, in a letter Friday to executive branch agencies, directed them to identify spending related to any training on "critical race theory," "white privilege" or any other material that teaches or suggests that the United States or any race or ethnicity is "inherently racist or evil."

The memo comes as the nation has faced a reckoning this summer over racial injustice in policing and other spheres of American life. Trump has spent much of the summer defending the display of the Confederate battle flag and monuments of Civil War rebels from protesters seeking their removal, in what he has called a "culture war" ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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