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Trump speaking to reporters at the White House in September. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said in a statement Thursday that President Trump's executive order that appears to block federal contractors from holding anti-racist programs or diversity training is "ill-conceived and harmful" and asked that it be rescinded.

Why it matters: PhRMA president and CEO Stephen Ubl warned that the order puts "improper bureaucratic hurdles and restrictions on speech" within private companies that have contracts and grants with the federal government, jeopardizing "meaningful dialogue on the values for which this nation stands."

Context: Trump moved to halt federal agencies' anti-racism training in early September, then expanded the ban to federal contractors. The order suggests these sessions promote "radical ideologies that divide Americans by race or sex."

What they're saying: “The biopharmaceutical industry is doing everything it can to find vaccines and therapeutics to help end a pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities," Ubl wrote in a statement Thursday.

  • “The issue of health inequities is not a new problem. It is a longstanding symptom of the systemic racism experienced by Black and Brown Americans throughout history. It is why our companies have committed to pushing for necessary, positive and long-term change to better address the needs of diverse communities."
  • "And it is why we must speak out against the president’s executive order restricting workplace diversity training programs and free speech within private companies that have contractual partnerships with or grants from the federal government."
  • “Diversity is essential to a robust innovation ecosystem that can create new medicines for those who need them."

The big picture: The Information Technology Industry Council, a tech industry lobbying group, also pushed back against the order last week.

  • CEO Jason Oxman wrote in a statement that it "attacks our broadly shared values and risks undoing real progress toward building racial equity in the tech industry and America writ large."

Go deeper

Trump bans transactions with eight Chinese software apps

Trump speaking at a rally in Dalton, Georgia, on Jan. 4. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that prohibits transactions with eight Chinese software applications, claiming they pose a national security threat given their ability to access private information about their users.

Why it matters: The order comes two weeks before Trump leaves office, and it remains unclear whether President-elect Biden will continue enforcing Trump’s bans on Chinese companies.

3 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. chargés d'affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten the embassy's ability to assist Americans.

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