Arts Commission members quit on Trump over Charlottesville

The remaining members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities have all resigned in a mass exodus over their opposition to President Trump’s comments following the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

“Dear @realDonaldTrump, attached is our letter of resignation from the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities @ PAH_gov,” the announcement read, in a Twitter post Friday morning by actor Kal Penn, who has already changed his Twitter profile to “Former White House Associate Director of Public Engagement.”

Included with the Twitter announcement was a screenshot of the letter dated Friday, Aug. 18, which the group sent to President Trump announcing their department. It is signed by 16 members of the committee.

The group’s members were reportedly all holdovers from the Obama administration, according to The Washington Post. Some members of the committee had quit immediately after Trump’s inauguration, while the remaining members had stayed on board until Trump could appoint his own members.

In the letter, the group condemns the president for his statements after Charlottesville, which it alleges demonstrates his “support of the hate groups” involved.

The letter states, in part:

“Dear Mr. President,

Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms are necessary following your support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville. The false equivalencies you push cannot stand. The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions.”

“Effective immediately, please accept our resignation from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities,” they write, adding:

“Elevating any group that threatens and discriminates on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, orientation, background, or identity is un-American. We have fought slavery, segregation, and internment. We must learn from our rich and often painful history. The unified fabric of America is made by patriotic individuals from backgrounds as vast as the nation is strong.”

In the resignation letter, the group accuses President Trump of attacking art and the press. They slam him for pulling out of the Paris agreement and banning transgenders from the military.

“You have subverted equal protections, and are committed to banning Muslims and refugee women and children from our great country. This does not unify the nation we all love,” they write.

Explaining their resignation, they conclude with, “Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions,” and allege, “Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values.”

In a final threat, the group adds, “If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office too.”

President Trump has already dissolved two other council groups this week, after several members left in protest of his handling of the Charlottesville incident.

He sent out an announcement Wednesday in a Twitter post, saying, “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”

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