Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ripped The New York Times’ 1619 Project to pieces in a speech on Thursday, saying that the Chinese Communist Party are “gleeful” when they see that “false doctrines” like the 1619 Project are being used to “promulgate hatred of our founding principles.”
Pompeo made the remarks during a speech on the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights, which was created to help Americans understand the nation’s founding principles.
“The New York Times’s 1619 Project – so named for the year that the first slaves were transported to America – wants you to believe that our country was founded for human bondage,” Pompeo said. “They want you to believe that America’s institutions continue to reflect the country’s acceptance of slavery at our founding.”
“They want you to believe that Marxist ideology that America is only the oppressors and the oppressed. The Chinese Communist Party must be gleeful when they see the New York Times spout this ideology,” Pompeo continued. “Some people have taken these false doctrines to heart. The rioters pulling down statues thus see nothing wrong with desecrating monuments to those who fought for our unalienable rights – from our founding to the present day.”
“This is a dark vision of America’s birth. I reject it,” Pompeo concluded on the matter. “It’s a disturbed reading of history. It is a slander on our great people. Nothing could be further from the truth of our founding and the rights about which this report speaks.”
The @NYTimes’s 1619 Project wants you to believe our country was founded for human bondage. What a dark vision of America’s birth. What a disturbed reading of history. What a slander on our great people. pic.twitter.com/s24rA3C3m8
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 16, 2020
The 1619 Project has been widely criticized by multiple prominent historians who have blasted the project, which has a stated goal of “refram[ing] the country’s history.” The project’s creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, has promoted radical activists’ efforts to topple historical monuments, pushed conspiratorial anti-government theories, and written disparagingly of the “barbaric” white race.
“I read the first essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones, which alleges that the Revolution occurred primarily because of the Americans’ desire to save their slaves,” said Gordon Wood, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the American Revolution. “She claims the British were on the warpath against the slave trade and slavery and that rebellion was the only hope for American slavery.”
“I was surprised, as many other people were, by the scope of this thing, especially since it’s going to become the basis for high school education and has the authority of the New York Times behind it, and yet it is so wrong in so many ways,” Wood continued. “None of the leading scholars of the whole period from the Revolution to the Civil War, as far I know, have been consulted.”
James McPherson, dean of Civil War historians and another Pulitzer winner, responded to 1619 Project by saying that “it left most of the history out.”
“I’d say that, almost from the outset, I was disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account, which lacked context and perspective on the complexity of slavery, which was clearly, obviously, not an exclusively American institution, but existed throughout history,” McPherson added. “And slavery in the United States was only a small part of a larger world process that unfolded over many centuries. And in the United States, too, there was not only slavery but also an antislavery movement.”
Even the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) described the 1619 Project as a “racialist falsification of American and world history.”
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Joseph Kishore, the Socialist Equality Party’s national secretary, says the “1619 Project” is aimed at legitimizing the politics of the Democratic Party and at “dividing workers” by race. “The interests of a black worker on the line in an auto plant and a white worker,” he says, “are fundamentally the same, and a million miles from the interests of an Oprah Winfrey or a Hillary Clinton.” He rejects the “pseudo-left politics” of identity, which “fight out conflicts within the top 10% or so over access to positions of power and privilege” through diversity programs, then “denounce white workers for being supposedly privileged even as they suffer from a decline in life expectancy and horrific social conditions.” Nobody is better at deflating the pretensions of progressives than the Left Opposition.
Pompeo also wrote about the matter in an op-ed that was published in The Washington Post on Thursday.
“Never before have America’s founding principles been under such relentless assault,” Pompeo wrote. “For decades, our institutions of higher education have sought to debunk or disown them. Last summer, the New York Times launched the 1619 Project, which contends that the essence of America is entwined with slavery and racism. In recent weeks, justified outrage at the actions of a rogue Minneapolis policeman has given way to outrageous efforts to erase American history by tearing down statues of our nation’s founders.”
“Never has knowledge of our founding principles been more urgent,” Pompeo continued. “By recovering our nation’s founding principles — and elaborating them in that spirit of toleration and civility on which constitutional government depends — the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights enables the nation to better answer these always-pressing questions and thereby makes an important contribution to securing freedom. I encourage everyone to read its fine work.”