After the Trump administration released its report on the "1776 Commission," historians wasted no time firing back with brutal criticism of the 45-page document, purported to be authored by "some of America's most distinguished scholars and historians." But one historian, Torsten Kathke is noting that the committee responsible for developing the report consisted of mostly conservatives and Trump loyalists.
"Many others are already parsing the report of the 1776 Commission," Kathke tweeted. "This much here: It's a propagandist hack job. What interested me were the people involved with it. (They're pretty much who you would expect them to be.)"
Kathke noted that the top three individuals listed on the committee list are not even historians. He tweeted, "The three above-the-line people leading the commission. Not one who is primarily a historian. Considering the commission states "the facts of our founding are not partisan. They are a matter of history" it feels not out of bounds to ask: Why not let a historian chair it?"
He went on to highlight the problem with former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) being part of the commission. Although Bryant supported replacing the state flag (which paid homage to the Confederate flag), he had previously insisted on honoring the legacy of the Confederacy.
Kathke went on to highlight issues with other members of the committee:
Kathke's criticism came shortly after the Trump administration released the "1776 Commission Report" on Martin Luther King Day. According to The New York Times, the report "denounces the charge that the American founders were hypocrites who preached equality even as they codified slavery in the Constitution and held slaves themselves."
The report, created by an 18-member commission chaired by Trump ally and conservative Larry Arnn, reads, "this charge is untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric."
The "1776 Commission Report" also argues that the "'distorted histories' of the country "labor under the illusion that slavery was somehow a uniquely American evil.'" It also presented a defense of slavery insisting that it should "be seen in a much broader perspective" as it noted the "unfortunate fact" that slavery "has been more the rule than the exception throughout human history."
According to the Trump White House, the civil rights movement became a case of "identity politics" which "teaches that America itself is to blame for oppression."