Trump appoints 1776 Commission members in last-minute bid to advance ‘patriotic education’

Along with Arnn, others to be appointed to the 18-member panel include activist Charlie Kirk, who founded the conservative campus group Turning Point USA; Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, who has declared his state “Trump Country;” Silicon Valley CEO and Trump fundraiser Scott McNealy; Brooke Rollins, Trump’s domestic policy adviser; and Mike Gonzalez, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow.

“The 1776 Committee was formed to advise the President about the core principles of the American founding and how to protect those principles by promoting patriotic education,” Spalding said in a statement. “The path to a renewed and confident national unity is through a rediscovery of our shared identity rooted in those principles.”

Spalding took a temporary leave of absence from his duties at Hillsdale for the appointment, according to the college.

Key context: Trump directed the commission’s creation via executive order last month to “better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776 and to strive to form a more perfect Union.”

The order followed a summer and fall marked by protests against police killings of Black men and women and Trump lashing out against the protesters as he positioned himself as the “law and order” candidate.

His order blasts historical accounts that he says have “vilified” the nation’s founders.

What’s next: The appointments are for two years, but it’s unclear if those selected will ever meet. President-elect Joe Biden has included addressing racial justice issues among his top concerns when he takes office.

“If ever there was a time for big change it’s now,” Biden told National Education Association members last summer. “We have to make this at least an era of action to reverse systemic racism with long overdue and concrete change.”

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