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Trump appoints members to 'patriotic education' group

President Donald Trump formed the 1776 Commission because, he said, schools are teaching children to hate the United States. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
President Donald Trump formed the 1776 Commission because, he said, schools are teaching children to hate the United States. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump has appointed 18 members to his new 1776 Commission to promote "patriotic education," the White House announced.

The members were appointed to two-year terms, the White House said Friday, but it's unclear if they will ever meet since Trump is in the closing days of his administration.

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Among those appointed were:

-- Larry Arnn, Hillside College president, as chairman

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-- Carol Swain, former Vanderbilt University law professor and conservative television analyst, as vice chair

-- Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, a national student movement dedicated to principles of free markets and limited government

-- Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

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-- Silicon Valley CEO and Trump fundraiser Scott McNealy

-- Brooke Rollins, Trump's domestic policy adviser

"Today, the president was delighted to welcome the great Americans he intends to appoint to the 1776 Commission," a statement from the White House press secretary's office said. "As our nation approaches its 250th anniversary of glorious independence, many of America's school children are tragically being taught to hate our founding, hate our history, and hate our country. This must stop."

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The 1776 Commission follows Trump's move in September to direct federal agencies to stop all contracts and anti-racism training on "White privilege" and "critical race theory."

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The commission is apparently part of a push back against The New York Times' 1619 Project, an ongoing initiative by the newspaper launched last year to focus on the history of slavery and contributions of Black Americans named after the year when the first enslaved people arrived in Virginia.

It also comes as the Trump administration blocks attempts by members of Congress to take down Confederate monuments and rename military installations with Confederate figures' names.

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"Despite the virtues and accomplishments of this nation, many students are now taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but rather villains," Trump said in his executive order establishing the commission.

Chris Dier, Louisiana's 2020 teacher of the year, responded to Trump's criticism of U.S. education.

"I'm not teaching my students to hate America," Dier told The Washington Post. "We are teaching our students to embrace our country, even the things that are negative. We're choosing not to ignore the ghosts of our country's past."

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