Commentary, News, Trump Administration

Civil rights groups express vehement opposition to Tony Tata’s nomination for Pentagon post

Then-NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata and Governor Pat McCrory in 2015. (Photo: McCrory’s’s flickr account.)

As reported in this space last week, President Trump’s nomination of former North Carolina Department of Transportation secretary, Wake County schools superintendent and pulp fiction author Tony Tata to a high-level post in the Pentagon has provoked strenuous opposition from groups and individuals concerned about numerous outrageous statements Tata has made (and positions he’s voiced) through the years.

This week, a collection of more than 50 civil rights groups, including the North Carolina NAACP, ramped up their opposition by issuing the following statement:

Pentagon Nominee’s Record on Race and Segregation Draws Scathing Rebukes from Civil Rights Groups

Anthony Tata’s Self-Serving Apologies Don’t Excuse Long, Thorough History of Bigotry

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, a diverse coalition of more than 50 civil rights, faith, education and labor groups have come out in opposition to the nomination of Anthony Tata for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy because of his long record of bigotry. Additionally, the North Carolina NAACP released a scathing statement of opposition documenting mismanagement, racial hostility, and efforts to resegregate schools when Tata was the schools superintendent of Wake County, NC. Spokespeople representing the national coalition and the North Carolina NAACP are available for interviews.

“His racial insensitivity quickly became notorious,” wrote Reverend T. Anthony Spearman, President of the NAACP’s North Carolina State Conference, about Tata’s brief tenure in Wake County before he was fired. He was “a walking scandal” who “seemed to regard African American parents as ideological adversaries, rather than taxpayers invested in the quality of their Public Schools.”

The national groups letter to the Senate—led by Muslim Advocates, the NAACP, the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for Disability Rights and the SPLC Action Fund—draws on Tata’s deep record of bigotry, racial epithets, anti-Muslim and anti-Black hostility to declare him “one of the most openly and brazenly bigoted nominees in recent memory.”

  • Tata has: Repeatedly attacked Black public figures with racial and religious epithets, including calling Congresswoman Maxine Waters a “race baiting racist” for her defense of Rodney King, a victim of police violence. He also invoked plantation slavery to criticize a Black news anchor.
  • He has spread the false, anti-Black, anti-Muslim conspiracy theory that President Obama is a secret Muslim.
  • He has said that Islam is the “most oppressive violent religion I know of” and wrote books invoking “Islamic gang rape” of white women.
  • In addition to criticism of his efforts to resegregate schools as Wake County Superintendent, the groups also point to allegations of discrimination against Latino and disabled students.

“All of our communities have been directly harmed by Mr. Tata’s words and actions,” stated the groups’ letter. “One simply cannot lead a diverse department while having such contempt for diverse people.”

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