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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday that challenges President Trump's executive order banning federal agencies, grantees and contractors from offering diversity trainings that the administration views as "anti-American."

Driving the news: The order, issued last month, says that trainings "that promotes race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating" promote "divisiveness in the workplace and distract from the pursuit of excellence and collaborative achievements in public administration."

  • Among concepts the order defines as "divisive" are those that teach that the U.S. "is fundamentally racist or sexist" and "an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex."
  • At the first presidential debate, Trump said such diversity trainings direct "people to hate our country.”
  • Civil rights groups immediately condemned the president's order, calling it "ill-conceived and harmful."
  • There have been several reports of universities, federal agencies and contractors dropping diversity trainings to comply with the order.

What they're saying: The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, on behalf of the the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance, said in the complaint that Trump, Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and the Department of Labor violated the Constitution's First and Fifth Amendments by issuing and implementing the order.

  • "The Order strikes at the heart of those critical efforts by government and nongovernment actors—including trainings and other forms of private speech in the workplace—to eradicate race and sex stereotyping and other continuing manifestations of entrenched discrimination and bias against people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals," the complaint reads.
  • "The depth and scope" of the executive order's "constitutional flaws are alarming and, if left unremedied, will erode the core principles of our democracy and the foundations of our pluralistic society," it added.
  • The executive order "unconstitutionally forces Plaintiffs to choose between censoring speech on these important issues or forfeiting any opportunity to enter into a federal contract for the provision of goods or services or to receive federal funds as a grant recipient."

Go deeper: Read the complaint.

Go deeper

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.

47 mins ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals.