Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., wiped a reference to “diversity, equity and inclusion” from his campaign website this week as part of his effort to replace President Biden.
Phillips’ campaign had used the term as a header in its political platform. It has now been replaced with the phrase “Equity and Restorative Justice,” but the description beneath the header remains the same., according to Politico.
The change, made sometime Monday or Tuesday, comes just after Phillips’ political PAC received a $1 million donation from businessman Bill Ackman, who has publicly pushed against DEI initiatives in business and academia.
DEI programs have come under increased scrutiny in recent years due to their discrimination on the basis of race. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year struck down affirmative action, a major pillar of DEI programs.
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Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., wiped a reference to “diversity, equity and inclusion” from his campaign website this week as part of his effort to replace President Biden. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Ackman publicly called out the inclusion of DEI in Phillips’ platform in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. Ackman posited that Phillips “didn’t understand what DEI was when that was made part of his website. I made the same mistake.”
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“He is getting educated as we speak. Let’s listen to what he has to say after he gets educated,” he added. “That’s the danger of the DEI movement. It comes inside a Trojan horse of constructed of [sic] beneficent sounding words.”
Phillips launched his campaign in protest against efforts from Democrats to block the traditional primary process and allow President Biden to secure the Democratic nomination without competition. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Meanwhile, Phillips’ campaign argued that the term “DEI” was simply no longer useful.
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“DEI now means such divergent things to different people that it is no longer descriptive. Instead of an academic discussion of a phrase our campaign prefers to focus on the urgent need to address and redress racial disparities — the policy substance of which remains completely unchanged on our site,” Phillips campaign spokeswoman Katie Dolan told Politico. “We believe the current accordion drop down button ‘Equity and Restorative Justice’ provides an unambiguous description of the campaign’s goal of an America where all people live in economic security and social dignity.”