Russ Vought—Trump’s Critical Race Theory Guy—Says Virginia Win Proves Political Power of Culture-War Fights

Former Trump official Russ Vought runs the Center for Renewing America (Image from Intercessors for America prayer call July 17, 2021)

Russ Vought, the former Office of Management and Budget director who issued the Trump administration’s ban on anti-racism training by federal agencies and contractors, is celebrating Republican Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial win in Virginia as proof that “picking cultural fights leads to electoral wins.”

Former President Donald Trump’s embrace of right-wing activists’ claims about “critical race theory” helped launch a national right-wing political and propaganda campaign against teaching about racism in United States history and institutions. Youngkin successfully capitalized on this furor in his campaign for governor, promising Virginia parents that he would get “critical race theory” out of schools.

Since leaving the Trump administration, Vought created the Center for Renewing America, which is working with other religious-right groups to continue his work countering anti-racism efforts. The group’s stated mission: “To renew a consensus of America as a nation under God with unique interests worthy of defending that flow from its people, institutions, and history, where individuals’ enjoyment of freedom is predicated on just laws and healthy communities.”

In a Thursday email to supporters of the Center for Renewing America, Vought continued:

This was our thesis when we started Renewing America. It was our thesis when we made fighting back on Cultural Marxism and Critical Race Theory a pillar of our work. It was our thesis when we launched an all out blitz across the country in states and local schools boards with our Stop CRT Toolkit and model legislation. And it will continue to guide our path forward.

Now that we’re starting to win at the ballot box, the Left will go even harder at us. We got a sense the Left was starting to get worried this summer when we started seeing attacks on our group and others who were fighting effectively in schools.

I’ve been on TV and radio quite a bit since Tuesday to point out that fighting on the cultural issues that matter most to voters yields tremendous results, and every candidate must do this going into 2022.

I was proud when President Trump launched this fight by instructing us to ban Critical Race Theory in the federal government in 2020, before many people knew what it was. And I’m proud that so many of you have carried the fight on these issues to your own backyard.

Vought’s immediate next target: vaccine requirements by government agencies and businesses, which he calls “unwise, unlawful, and massively destructive to our communities.”