Politics

McConnell Attacks Biden Rule’s Antiracism Focus, Calling It ‘Divisive’

The minority leader joined Republicans in protesting a proposal to promote teaching about systemic racism and the consequences of slavery, saying it would indoctrinate students with “a slanted story.”


By Catie Edmondson

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, led Republican senators on Friday in protesting a proposed Biden administration rule promoting education programs that address systemic racism and the legacy of American slavery, calling the guidance “divisive nonsense.”

In a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, and three dozen other Republicans singled out a reference in the proposal to The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, which was included as an example of a growing emphasis on teaching “the consequences of slavery, and the significant contributions of Black Americans to our society.”

“Families did not ask for this divisive nonsense. Voters did not vote for it,” the senators wrote. “Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil.”

It was the latest bid by Republicans to stoke outrage within their conservative base about President Biden’s agenda, which party leaders are increasingly portraying as a radical overreach into every corner of American life.

Mr. McConnell’s lead role in it, reported earlier by Politico, came the day after former President Donald J. Trump — who specializes in using matters of race to inflame his supporters — had attacked the Kentucky Republican publicly, saying in an interview that he had done a poor job and should be replaced as the party leader.

Mr. Trump has directed his ire at Mr. McConnell since the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, when Mr. McConnell privately backed impeaching Mr. Trump, then voted to acquit him even as he delivered a damning condemnation of the former president. Mr. Trump recently told hundreds of Republican donors at a party confab that Mr. McConnell was “dumb” and used a profane phrase to disparage him.

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