Trump appointee claims race theory pushed on Air Force cadets

Chris Dolmetsch

A Trump loyalist sued the Pentagon over the suspension of a U.S. Air Force Academy advisory board, saying the move was allowing the Biden administration to instruct cadets in critical race theory.

Heidi Stirrup, who was appointed to the academy’s board of visitors by then-President Donald Trump in December, filed suit in federal court in Washington on  Thursday. She claims the February suspension of the board, which was tasked with advising on “morale, discipline and social climate” at the academy, was unconstitutional and had allowed the White House to make “critical decisions” about instruction.

Heidi Stirrup

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According to Stirrup, that included teaching critical race theory, which was developed by legal scholars in the 1970s who argued that racism persists through seemingly race-neutral American laws, policies, and institutions. The academic theory has recently become a lightning rod for conservative activists and Republican lawmakers who claim it essentially teaches White students to hate themselves.

Stirrup claims air force cadets are being graded on how they answer “ideologically-skewed and misleading questions” about race.

Press offices for the Defense Department and Air Force Academy didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Banned Liaison

A former lobbyist, Stirrup held a variety of positions in the Trump administration. She was appointed to the academy advisory board on the same day the Associated Press reported that she had been banned from the Justice Department, where she had been a White House liaison, after pressuring officials to give her information on election-fraud investigations.

Stirrup was one of several loyalists Trump installed in federal advisory boards in December. Former campaign manager and top White House aide Kellyanne Conway was also appointed to the air force academy board. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin moved to purge many of those picks from Pentagon boards shortly after taking office.

The case is Stirrup v U.S. Department of Defense, 21-cv-1893, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia.