A White House committee that has been in place since the Reagan administration was hit by the mass defection this morning of its entire membership. Vanity Fair reports that the remaining members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned all at once.
“In a joint statement, all of its members — including author Jhumpa Lahiri, artist Chuck Close, actor Kal Penn and more — explained in very specific terms why they no longer felt comfortable serving the president in the wake of his inflammatory remarks about the Charlottesville protest,” Vanity Fair reports.
The article quotes the statement saying: “Speaking truth to power is never easy, Mr. President … art is about inclusion. The Humanities include a vibrant free press. You have attacked both. You released a budget which eliminates arts and culture agencies. You have threatened nuclear war while gutting diplomacy funding … your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed.”
The panel was set up in 1982 to advise the White House on cultural issues. Other members of the committee reportedly resigned just before Trump’s inauguration.
Penn told Vanity Fair: “It became clear that the government became inoperative under this particular presidency. A lot of the work and the agencies have been frozen. There’s a big waste of taxpayer dollars. We had hope, but the president made comments that quite literally were in support of the domestic terrorists.”