President Donald Trump reinforced his decision to eliminate racial sensitivity training in the federal workplace during the first presidential debate Sept. 29, calling the central components of such training “sick” and “insane.”

“I ended it because it’s racist; I ended it because a lot of people were complaining that they were asked to do things that were absolutely insane, that it was a radical revolution that was taking place in our military, in our schools and everywhere else,” Trump said.

Much of the federal government’s racial sensitivity training is conducted by outside contractors, and Trump took issue with the spending across agencies on this topic.

“We were paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach very bad ideas and were frankly very sick ideas. They were teaching people to hate our country, and I’m not going to do that, I’m not going to allow that to happen,” Trump said.

The administration has instructed federal agency leadership to begin identifying contracts for training that contains concepts like white privilege and inherent bias so that they can begin ending such contracts. How quickly that process will take place will likely depend on the details of each contract and how much work and payment each contractor is entitled to before it can be terminated.

Former Vice President Joe Biden called such training, both inside and outside the federal government, important for bringing people together, rather than dividing them.

“There is racial insensitivity. People have to be made aware of what other people feel like, what insults them, what is demeaning to them. It’s important that people know. Many people don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, but it makes a big difference, it makes a gigantic difference, in the way a child is able to grow up and have self-esteem,” said Biden.

“The only way we’re going to bring this country together is to bring everybody together.”

Biden also promised that his administration would make changes to federal operations to support green energy, namely by replacing vehicles in the federal fleet with electric alternatives.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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