WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Filemon Vela (D-TX) issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to ban diversity training at the Department of Defense. 

“Donald Trump’s attacks on diversity in the military are a step backwards in building a more resilient and innovative force. It is past time Trump listens to experts rather than take advice from divisive TV pundits. Minorities make up 40 percent of our military, and we cannot act as if their critical contributions do not matter.   

“The military has a problem on their hands. Minority soldiers have been fighting on the front lines and sacrificing their lives for our country since before World War I, yet today, 88 percent of Admirals and Generals are white males. Minorities are leaving the service at a disproportional rate, hurting recruiting, retention and command climates. With less than one percent of young Americans willing to volunteer to serve in our armed forces, we need these courageous few to believe the U.S. military values our diverse military personnel and all those that chose to serve. Yet their Commander in Chief wants to protect the names of ten U.S. Military bases named for Confederate leaders who betrayed the ideals of their nation, killed 365,000 of America’s bravest and wanted to keep Black Americans enslaved. These are not bases with namesakes that our diverse military members feel pride serving at. They are alienating and dehumanizing.

“All of Trump’s hand-selected military leaders have emphasized the importance of inclusion within the ranks.  I applaud the efforts of the Air Force and Marine Corps to eliminate barriers to advancement for our diverse military members to ensure that we achieve an organization that is more reflective of America.”

 

# # #