WASHINGTON, D.C.– In a move that has seemingly driven progressives to near meltdown mode, President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the Justice Department to take on the decades long social justice program known as Affirmative Action.
Affirmative Action, which originated under Executive Order 10925 of the John F. Kennedy administration, is a mandate that was issued to “end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination” and is used to ensure that minorities are not discriminated against based on factors such as gender, race or ethnicity.
Late Tuesday evening, The New York Times tweeted it had obtained an internal DOJ job announcement which sought attorneys interested in a project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The tweet quickly went viral and opponents of the president were quick to shout claims of racism and misogyny.
John King, who served as education secretary under President Obama, said he was “deeply disheartened” by the the president’s “hard line against efforts to increase campus diversity rather than focusing on addressing the persistent opportunity gaps facing students of color and low-income students.”
Anurima Bhargava, another Obama era appointee who led the Educational Opportunities Section under his administration called the move a “scare tactic” intended to “drum up a bunch of fear and intimidate schools who are trying to provide a pipeline to leadership for all Americans.”
Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who also served as a civil rights attorney under the Obama administration said the investigation would amount to “changing course on a key civil rights issue” and proves the Justice Department is “now actively seeking to challenge efforts that colleges and universities have undertaken to expand educational opportunity.”
Former Education Secretary John King, who too served under the Barack Obama administration, condemned the decision to look into claims of abuse of the Affirmative Action program, saying diversity benefits schools and communities.
“I am deeply disheartened that the administration appears to be taking a hard line against efforts to increase campus diversity rather than focusing on addressing the persistent opportunity gaps facing students of color and low-income students,” King, said in a statement.
But supporters of the president say there is nothing in the job announcement that would suggest that Trump is targeting blacks, women or other minorities in any way.
But Roger Clegg, a civil rights official during the Reagan era who now runs the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, said it was an encouraging sign.
“The civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that not only are whites discriminated against now, but frequently Asian-Americans are as well,” said Clegg. “Anytime a university discriminates on the basis of race it ought to creep people out, and it doesn’t make any difference who’s being discriminated against on the basis of race,” he added. “I’m delighted that the Trump administration is doing this.”
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Justice Department refused to confirm or deny plans to look into what many who oppose the program refer to as “reverse discrimination”.
“The Department of Justice does not discuss personnel matters, so we’ll decline comment,” said Devin O’Malley, a department spokesman.