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Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) on Tuesday warned that Kiran Ahuja, President Biden’s nominee to serve as head of the Office of Personnel Management, will usher in a “new era of racial engineering” in federal government.
Hawley’s comments on the Senate floor come as Republicans have delayed her confirmation process amid concerns over her stance on critical race theory and abortion rights. Objections from Hawley and other GOP senators during her confirmation hearing in April effectively stopped a fast confirmation vote on her nomination, which is subject to debate on the Senate floor.
On Tuesday, Hawley said he is “concerned that Ms. Ahuja is a disciple of radical critical theorists.” He noted that she has “frequently promoted” Ibram X. Kendi, an anti-racism activist and advocate for critical race theory and that she wrote last year that “we must free the nation from the daily trials of white supremacy.”
“I’m concerned that as the federal government’s HR director, Ms. Ahuja could use her platform to promote radical ideologies to divide rather than unite the American people.”
“She could bring critical race theory back into federal government training into every level of federal personnel stronger than ever,” he added.
Kiran Ahuja doesn't say no when asked by Sen. Hawley if she thinks "the United States is a systemically racist nation." pic.twitter.com/XU7EbOK1br
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) June 22, 2021
Hawley went on to add that candidates for public office should be committed to ideological neutrality, fairness and impartiality.
“At the end of the day this is not about politics or personalities. This is about ensuring government stands for unity, not division. Harmony, not hate,” he said. “As the Reverend Dr. King famously said — and he was right — we should judge our fellow citizens by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.”
“The advocates of critical theory tell us we have to dismantle our culture, our history, our families, our Jewish and Christian heritage and beliefs because they’re all oppressive,” Hawley said. “They say the future of this nation will be defined by racial division and racial strife. Mr. President, I reject that prophecy of our future and I take my stand on the goodness of the American people and the God who guides us.”
If confirmed, Ahuja would lead the federal agency tasked with creating human resources initiatives and personnel policy for federal employees. President Biden issued an executive order in January to reinstate diversity and racial sensitivity training, rescinding a Trump-era policy that prohibited training on critical race theory, white privilege, and other “divisive” topics.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced Ahuja’s nomination in late April in a party-line vote.
Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio), the ranking member on the committee, said then that he voted against Ahuja’s nomination over concerns about her “previous support of critical race theory” and her pro-abortion stance.
At the time, the White House defended Ahuja’s nomination.
“Kiran Ahuja is a qualified, experienced, and dedicated public servant who we are looking forward to leading the Office of Personnel Management in its work protecting the safety of the workforce, empowering federal employees, and building a federal workforce that looks like America,” said deputy White House Press Secretary Chris Meagher.