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Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria speaks to AFA cadets. Photo: YouTube

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, yesterday "stood all of his 4,000 cadets at attention ... [c]hins in and chests out ... to deliver a message on racial slurs found written on message boards at the academy's preparatory school," The (Colorado Springs) Gazette reports.

At the culmination of his five-minute lecture on "the power of diversity" of race and gender, the general barked: "Reach for your phones. I'm serious: Reach for your phones. ... Grab your phones. I want you to videotape this — so that you have it, so that you can use it, so that we all have the moral courage together."

  • Then he said: "If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out." The general turned and left.
  • The academy says in a release that "five black students woke up Tuesday to find 'Go Home' followed by an epithet scrawled on message boards outside their rooms."
  • More from Silveria, an '85 graduate of the academy: "If you're outraged by those words, then you're in the right place ... We would ... be tone deaf not to think about the backdrop of what's going on in our country — things like Charlottesville and Ferguson, the protests in the NFL."
  • " [W]hat we should have is a civil discourse and talk about these issues. That's a better idea."

Why it matters: This is very much of a piece with the camera-phone video we brought you last month, in which Defense Secretary Jim Mattis tells troops aboard, in impromptu remarks: "Hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other."

Be smart: If you have the privilege of leading, you know what to do.

Go deeper: Meet Lt. Gen. Silveria

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Go deeper

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."

Scoop: Conservative group puts $700k behind Hawley

Sen. Josh Hawley explains his objection to certifying the 2020 election results hours after the U.S. Capitol siege. Photo: Congress.gov via Getty Images

A Republican group is raising and spending huge amounts of money defending Sen. Josh Hawley after he was ostracized for early January’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: The Senate Conservatives Fund is plugging Hawley's ideological bona fides and backfilling lost corporate cash with needed political and financial support, helping inoculate him as he weighs reelection or a possible presidential campaign in 2024.

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