After President Trump blamed “both sides” for a white supremacist rally that left a counter-protestor dead in Charlottesville last week, business leaders flocked to resign from the president’s business advisory groups. Now, arts and culture leaders are doing the same: the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) resigned in a group protest today.
“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 PCAH wrote. “The false equivalencies you push cannot stand.”
The Committee was established by President Reagan in 1982 as an advisory group on cultural issues. It works closely with other arts agencies–like the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services, which were all slated for defunding in Trump’s original budget–and includes commissioners from multiple disciplines, like architect Thom Mayne, painter Chuck Close, and filmmaker Kal Penn.
In its fiery letter, the PCAH takes shots at the President’s actions, both arts-related and not: threatening the NEA and NEH, pulling out of the Paris Agreement, undermining the Civil Rights Act, speaking out against transgender military service members, and the Muslim ban. “Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions,” the PCAH wrote. “We took a patriotic oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Reading between the lines, the PCAH all but called Trump the number one enemy to the country. And if you look closely, you can see the Committee spelled out “resist” using the first letter of each paragraph.
After the President’s Strategy and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing council disbanded in protest of Trump’s actions, Trump himself abandoned plans for a similar council on infrastructure. The PCAH is just the latest group of industry leaders to make their voices heard. Their final words? Asking the president to resign.