Gaetz Demands Hearing on DEI Practices at VA

Gaetz Demands Hearing on DEI Practices at VA

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
May 14, 2024

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, better known as DEI, has been scrutinized by Republicans, who allege that such a system does the opposite of its intended purpose in practice. The latest instance appeared in Veterans Affairs facilities, where race-based support groups and workshops exclude white veterans. As a result, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) recently wrote letters to VA Secretary Denis McDonough and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Representative Mike Bost (R-IL) demanding an oversight hearing on these practices.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported on these race-based programs at VA facilities in Michigan, California, Ohio, and Minnesota on Monday. These programs offer support for "race-based stress, trauma, resilience, and empowerment." Similarly, the California facility offered a specific program for non-white women veterans that allowed members to "explore [the] impact of racism on your well-being."

 VA communications official Shawn Liu justified the programs as "Like, treating everybody the same might not be enough for some" in an appearance on the VA's Ending Veteran Homelessness podcast.

As the Daily Caller quoted in Rep. Gaetz's letter, such programs are "in violation of law and the Constitution." Thus, the letters demanded Secretary McDonough testify on who started and is controlling these programs, what steps the VA is taking to remove them, and whether or not other similar programs exist.

The Florida Congressman posted the letter to X (formerly Twitter), where he said, "Today I called on Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman @RepBost to conduct an oversight hearing into the VA's racist DEI programs that exclude white American veterans. DEI has NO PLACE in our military or our country!"

Gaetz is not the first Florida Republican to rebuke Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) recently signed legislation prohibiting DEI-based training for Florida teachers.

"The courts incredibly said that that's their First Amendment right to do that training on you. It's our view that current Florida civil rights law prohibits some of this racist training that is being done and imposed under the rubric of DEI," said Gov. DeSantis.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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