Citing Trump remarks, most of president's arts council quits
NEW YORK — Another presidential advisory committee appears to be breaking up.
Actor Kal Penn, artist Chuck Close and virtually the entire membership of the President's Committee On the Arts and Humanities have announced their resignation. A letter dated Friday, signed by 16 of 17 committee members, cited the "false equivalence" of President Donald Trump's comments about last weekend's "Unite the Right" gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump has blamed "many sides" for the demonstrations that left an anti-racism activist dead.
"Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions," the letter reads. "Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too."
Earlier this week, two business advisory councils were disbanded as members left in protest.
The arts and humanities committee was established in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan and all the current members had been appointed by President Barack Obama. Others signing the resignation letter included author Jhumpa Lahiri; and Vicki Kennedy, widow of Edward M. Kennedy. The only member not signing was Broadway director George C. Wolfe. Representatives for Wolfe at Creative Arts Agency did not have any immediate comment on whether he had resigned.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.