According to The New York Times, President Trump and his Justice Department are preparing to take on affirmative action at the college level. This recent re-direction, the final act in the apparent trifecta of policies aimed at assuaging right-wing culture angst (LGBT rights, Muslim rights), is currently underway, with embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions playing a lead rolling. New reports suggest that the civil rights unit of the Justice Department will soon be funneling substantial operational and human resources toward ” “investigations and possible litigation” related to race-based admissions practices at colleges and universities across the country, with the goal of substantially curtailing–or ending–these activities.
Unlike Sessions, who, in comparison, has been rather transparent and unequivocal in his views on de jure policies which support racial minority and gender equality (he does not like them), Trump’s views on affirmative action have been muddled at best. Although Trump’s cabinet reflects the least minority and female diversity in recent memory, and his presidential campaign has largely focused on addressing perceived historical injustices towards White men, his earliest efforts as president included a full-throated, albeit scoffed at, endorsement of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Indeed, some might also remember then-candidate Trump’s comments on CNN (video below) addressing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion that Blacks are better-suited for ““slower track[s]” in school.
So, in light of this new initiative, where does Trump really stand on the issue of race-based admissions and affirmative action? We shall soon find out. But using the civil rights division to front this cause seems rather, well, cynical, even for a president who seems to delight in heavy-handed irony.