On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that the authors of outgoing President Donald Trump's "1776 report" appear to have lifted passages verbatim from previous publications, including opinion pieces.
"An entire page of the report suggesting classroom discussion topics for teachers appears to be copied nearly verbatim from an opinion piece published in 2008 by one of the commission's members, Thomas Lindsay," reported Tina Nguyen. "Now a senior fellow at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, Lindsay was one of 16 conservative academics tasked by the Trump administration to help craft the 1776 Commission report. And nearly the entirety of page 39 and page 40 of that report lifts from his 2008 article without attribution in an effort to offer prompts for teachers 'to encourage civics discussion among students.'"
Among the lifted lines include, "What does human equality mean in the statement that 'all men are created equal'? Equal in what respects? What view of human nature does this presuppose? Does the Declaration intend to include African Americans, as Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all insisted?" Some eight paragraphs are copied in this manner.
The 1776 Report, first announced by outgoing Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and released on Martin Luther King Day, is a response to The New York Times' "1619 Project," which sought to highlight overlooked aspects of how slavery shaped America's law, culture, and history — something that has triggered widespread anger among right-wing commentators.
Trump's report, which has almost no formally trained historians among its authors, has already drawn widespread criticism, given its heavy right-wing slant and factual inaccuracies. For example, the report claims George Washington freed all of his slaves immediately after death, which is not true.