As reported by Breitbart News, the email contained a graphic which listed behaviors deemed to be acts and demonstrations of white supremacy, including, “Celebration of Columbus Day,” the “Denial of White Privilege,” “Talking about ‘American Exceptionalism,'” and saying “There’s Only One Human Race.”
The email was sent by Chaney Pickard with the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Center on an official government account.
The message invited “all soldiers and (Department of the Army) Civilian Personnel” to come to the U.S. Army’s “Operation Inclusion” seminars held July 8 and 9 at the Redstone Arsenal Army Base in Alabama. It cited the “U.S. Army Equity & Inclusion Agency” and “Assistant Secretary of the Army — Manpower and Reserve Affairs” as the authors.
"A U.S. Army employee on Monday sent an email invite to likely thousands of military and civilian members for a U.S. Army 'Operation Inclusion' listening tour, which included a graphic that said saying 'MAGA' is evidence of white supremacy. The Army says it was 'sent in error,'" Breitbart national security reporter Kristina Wong wrote on Twitter in a post that included the graphic.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who was alerted to the email and graphic, was furious and demanded that whoever was responsible for them be immediately dismissed.
Calling the material "deeply offensive and racist," he added the email is a "clear violation” of the Hatch Act, which prohibits military members and government employees from engaging in political activities at work.
“Disturbingly, the Army chose Redstone Arsenal as the first location on a tour that will cover all Army 4 star commands,” Brooks added.
"Numerous Redstone Arsenal employees have expressed outrage to me about the U.S. Army blatantly violating the Hatch Act and, in effect, labeling patriotic Americans ‘White Supremacists’ and racists if they say or do dozens of things outlined in the U.S. Army email," Brooks wrote in a letter to U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, in which he demanded an investigation.
Specifically, according to Breitbart, Brooks wants to know:
1. Who within the Department of the Army is responsible for the creation of the email and document?
2. Who within the Department of the Army approved the email and document?
3. Pursuant to the creation and approval of the document, was there a violation of either the Hatch Act or DoD Directive 1344.10?
4. If a violation of the Hatch Act or DoD Directive 1344.10 is found to have occurred, will those responsible be held accountable for their actions?
5. If it is found that a violation occurred (which seems pretty obvious), how will those federal employees be held accountable for their illegal conduct?
He also sent copies of the letter to President Donald Trump, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Attorney General William Barr, and other administration officials. (Related: California couple charged with a HATE crime for merely painting over “Black Lives Matter” street mural.)
"ALL U.S. Army civilian and uniformed personnel who drafted, approved or sent this racist and politically partisan email, using government resources, should be prosecuted for their Hatch Act violations and summarily fired for blatantly and illegally injecting themselves into partisan political activities on government time using federal taxpayer money," he said in a statement, The Epoch Times reports.
The Army has since announced two things -- that, indeed, the message was sent in error (fine -- but who created the graphic and why?), and an investigation has begun.
"On July 6, 2020, a Project Inclusion listening tour handout included two unapproved pages that were sent out in error and immediately recalled. The slides – copied from a non-government website – included a word cloud with phrases that were intended to spark conversation; however, the document was predecisional and inappropriate for the discussion. The unapproved pages were in no way used as part of the ‘Your Voice Matters’ listening tour sessions," the Army said.
"As soon as Department of the Army leaders were made aware of these products the Army initiated a 15-6 investigation to determine how this happened. The Army does not condone the use of phrases that indicate political support," the service branch continued, adding that it "is and will...remain an apolitical organization."