Army Pulls Handout Listing 'MAGA' as a Sign of White Supremacist Sympathies

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A man wears a 'Make America Great Again' hat as he waits for U.S. President Trump to arrive for a 'Make America Great Again' campaign rally at Williamsport Regional Airport, May 20, 2019 in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A man wears a 'Make America Great Again' hat as he waits for U.S. President Trump to arrive for a 'Make America Great Again' campaign rally at Williamsport Regional Airport, May 20, 2019 in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Army has pulled a handout meant to promote meetings on diversity in the ranks that lists President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan as a possible indicator of covert white supremacist sympathies.

In a statement late Wednesday, the Army said that the flyer distributed to troops and contractors at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama was sent out in error, and an Article 15-6 fact-finding investigation had begun to determine how it happened.

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Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, demanded that those responsible for distribution of the promotional material be investigated for prosecution under the Hatch Act, limiting the political activities of the military and the civil service.

"U.S. Army personnel have violated the Hatch Act and any number of military regulations by distributing materials that, among other offensive things, labels president Donald Trump's 'Make America Great Again' slogan or 'Celebration of Columbus Day' as white supremacist," Brooks said in a lengthy release.

"The U.S. Army is not the place for political indoctrination or re-education experimentation," he said, adding that "heads should roll."

The material was meant to promote meetings at Redstone Arsenal as part of the Army's "Project Inclusion," an effort by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph McConville "to improve diversity, equity and inclusion across the force and build cohesive teams."

Project Inclusion involved listening sessions at bases worldwide for troops and civilians on issues such as racial disparities and the Army's move in August to remove photos from officers' promotion boards, according to the service.

The promotional material, sent in emails, included an illustration of a pyramid of phrases labeled "Things To Think About."

Under the heading as indicators of "Overt White Supremacy," the pyramid listed "swastikas," "hate crimes," "The N-word," "Burning Crosses" and "Racial Jokes."

The flyer then said "convert white supremacy" [sic] was suggested by "Make American Great Again;" "Eurocentric Curriculum;" "English-Only Initiatives;" "Bootstrap Theory;" "All Lives Matter;" and such sayings as, "Don't Blame Me. I Never Owned Slaves."

In its statement, the Army did not address how the July 6 handout was put together, but said that it included two unapproved pages and was quickly recalled.

The unapproved pages were copied from a non-government website, the service said, and "included a word cloud with phrases that were intended to spark conversation; however, the document was pre-decisional and inappropriate for the discussion."

"The Army does not condone the use of phrases that indicate political support," according to the statement. "The Army is and will continue to remain an apolitical organization."

However, Brooks charged that the promotional material was intended to damage Trump's re-election campaign. "I aim to get to the bottom of this outrageous propaganda and see that those responsible are appropriately prosecuted and fired," he said.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

Related: The Military Surveyed Troops on Extremism in the Ranks Decades Ago. Here's What It Found.

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