On June 6th, personnel at the Redstone Arsenal Army post in Alabama, received a handout from officials that labeled certain slogans, celebrations and other topics as forms of “covert white supremacy.”
Some of these slogans included “MAGA,” celebrating Christopher Columbus Day, “All Lives Matter” and others. The slogans were on two pages that were included from slides found on a non-governmental website.
Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said that the handout “included two unapproved pages that were sent out in error and immediately recalled.”
Part of the slides on the recalled pages included a graphic where a pyramid includes these phrases and many others such as blackface and any jokes about race. The non-governmental source for this pyramid graphics is Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence and was originally thought to be part of the Army’s “Project Inclusion” also known as the ‘Your Voice Matters’ listening tour sessions. This was a new initiative to improve diversity and racial inclusion across the Army.
“The slides — copied from a non-government website — included a word cloud with phrases that were intended to spark conversation; however, the document was pre-decisional and inappropriate for the discussion. The unapproved pages were in no way used as part of the ‘Your Voice Matters’ listening tour sessions,” Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement to the Miltary Times.
Cynthia Smith did not directly mention any phrases such as “MAGA” or “All Lives Matter” but did mention that “the Army does not condone the use of phrases that indicate political support. The Army is and will continue to remain an apolitical organization,” she said.
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama accused the service of violating the Hatch Act and sent a letter to the Army.
On July 8th, Representative Mo Brooks wrote to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, “Including overtly political materials in the invitation for such an event is completely inappropriate and, in this instance and in my view, illegal. Further, the inclusion of such materials serves only to ostracize segments of the workforce and create racial division, rather than minimize it.”
Rep. Mo Brooks also stated in the letter that those who “drafted, approved or sent this racist and politically partisan email, using government resources” should be prosecuted and/or fired for “blatantly and illegally injecting themselves into partisan political activities on government time using federal taxpayer money.”
This comes as the Army (and military in general) may have to answer to questions over the military’s role in the George Floyd protests in June. The Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley are scheduled to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, July 15th.
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