National Archives criticized by Republicans over report labeling Rotunda example of 'structural racism'

Task force calls National Archives rotunda 'racist'

Cassie Smedile, executive director of the America Rising PAC, says nothing is 'off-limits' from the left's claims of structural racism.

Republican lawmakers took aim at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) over the agency’s racism task force report that called the National Archives' own Rotunda an example of "structural racism."

The report, which was critical of the Founding Fathers, claimed that the Rotunda – which houses the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – is an example of "structural racism" because it "lauds wealthy White men in the nation's founding while marginalizing BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and other People of Color], women, and other communities."


The task force suggested ways to "reimagine the Rotunda," including staging "dance or performance art in the space that invites dialogue about the ways that the United States has mythologized the founding era." The report also called for "trigger warnings" to be put in place with historical content to "forewarn audiences of content that may cause intense physiological and psychological symptoms."

Republicans were sharply critical of the report in comments to Fox News.

House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer, R-Ky., slammed the National Archives' report as "radical" and "nothing more than progressive propaganda seeking to erase our nations' history."

"America should be celebrated, not reviled — especially by our own federal government. This report is a prime example of government waste. Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund a woke agenda seeking to revise America's history."

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., a member of the House Oversight Committee, excoriated NARA in a Monday email to Fox News, saying the "National Archives is charged with preserving history, not rewriting it."

"This task force's report is another outrageous example of how the Left's toxic ‘woke’ cancel culture has seeped into America’s federal government," Hice continued. "Our Founding Fathers gave us a set of principles and aspirations that have enabled America to make tremendous strides towards equality and justice for all."

The Georgia Republican added that the "progress" America has made so far would have been impossible "without the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution" and he said the country "cannot allow the ‘woke’ movement to sanitize, downplay, rewrite, or erase America’s history."

Hice's Oversight Committee colleague, Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., was similarly critical of the report.

"Every time the left inappropriately uses the word, they are cheapening and lessening the real significance of the actual definition. One thing is abundantly clear; everything America represents is racist and evil to Democrats," Donalds said. "They will continue to tarnish this nation until they successfully change it. My goal is to make them unsuccessful."

Texas Republican Reps. Pete Sessions and Pat Fallon also blasted the report.


"History provides perspective and lessons learned — some hard lessons. Rewriting or erasing history is a dangerous game that sets a perilous precedent," Sessions said. "We ought to look to our past as a guiding compass to improve our future."

"The woke left wants to fundamentally dismantle the fabric of the United States," Fallon said. "They know that if they can reimagine the literal structure encapsulating our founding documents, they are just steps away from deconstructing the founding documents inside."

The National Archives' racism task force said in a report that the archives' Rotunda is an example of "structural racism."   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

The National Archives said in a Monday statement to Fox News that the documents enshrined in the Rotunda "are the cornerstone of American democracy," but added that the documents "guaranteed liberties for some, but not all, of the people" when they were created after the Revolutionary War.

"The Rotunda commemorates the contributions of the Founding Fathers, who put their lives at risk to create our democracy," the statement read.


"As it is currently configured, however, the Rotunda does not recognize the presence, contributions, and sacrifices of enslaved persons, indigenous people, and women in the founding of our nation, nor does it acknowledge that many groups – including some who fought alongside the Founding Fathers in the Revolutionary War – did not benefit from the rights guaranteed by these founding documents."

NARA also said that in "order to provide a more historically accurate depiction, and to illustrate how Americans continued to struggle for equal rights even as the cornerstone documents were amended, the National Archives is evaluating approaches for updating the Rotunda to become more inclusive of all persons who contributed to the nation’s history at the time of its founding."

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