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Trump’s cultural committee resigns en masse

Caroline Taylor Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images/File

Yet another advisory group to the president is calling it quits following President Donald Trump’s response to the deadly events at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, whose members include Caroline Taylor, wife of singer James Taylor, resigned en masse Friday morning.

“We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” members wrote in a letter to Trump. “Elevating any group that threatens and discriminates on the basis of face, gender, ethnicity, disability, orientation, background, or identity in un-American.”


Created in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan, the committee advises the White House on cultural issues. Members include artist Chuck Close, actor Kal Penn, and author Jhumpa Lahiri, among others. (Initial reports of the committee’s resignation cited Senator Ted Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Kennedy, as a member. In fact, Vicki Kennedy is a member, but it’s Victoria S. Kennedy, the co-founder of the Go Campaign who is currently building a nautical children’s museum in Washington, D.C.)

Eagle-eyed readers of the resignation letter noted that the first letter of each paragraph spelled out “RESIST.”

“Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions,” the letter states. “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.”

The arts committee’s resignation follows the exodus of CEOs and business executives from the president’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and Strategy & Policy Forum. Trump also scrapped plans for an Advisory Council on Infrastructure.