The President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities announced that it was disbanding Friday following President Donald Trump’s statements on violence during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville Saturday.
Writer Jhumpa Lahiri, “Jersey Boys” actor John Lloyd Young, lawyer Vicki Kennedy, and actor Kal Penn, among others, signed a letter calling out Trump’s “hateful rhetoric” and “support of the hate groups and terrorists” that came out to protest in Charlottesville on August 12.
The letter, which was signed by all 16 of the committee’s members, says that they will be resigning from their position in the White House and called on Trump to do the same.
To drive home the point, the members spelled out the word “resist” with the first letter of the six paragraphs that make up the memo.
“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 memo reads. “The false equivalencies you push cannot stand.”
In his initial statement Saturday, Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence during white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA that killed counter-protester Heather Heyer. Trump later explicitly called out white nationalists and neo-Nazis in a statement on Monday, before again blaming both sides during a wild Tuesday press conference.
According to the New York Times, the arts committee was appointed by President Barack Obama and never once met under Trump. While 12 members left as soon as Trump was elected, the 16 that remained chose to stay and help fight for the arts under the new administration.
Now, those who remained have resigned in order to not be complicit with, according to the memo, “all enemies, foreign or domestic.”
“We must be better than this. We are better than this,” the letter reads. “If this is not clear to you, we call on you to resign your office, too.”
The arts committee joined a long list of both prominent figures, both Republican and Democrat, who have condemned Trump’s response to the Charlottesville attack.
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