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Alongside a scathing condemnation of President Donald Trump's reaction to protests in Charlottesville, members of the president's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities told Trump of their resignation on Friday.
On Friday, actor Kal Penn tweeted the letter directly to Trump. In the letter, Kal and his colleagues called for Trump's resignation and suggested that unless they left the Committee, they, like Trump's White House advisors, would be complicit in his actions and “hateful rhetoric”:
Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions. We took a patriotic oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
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 committee members framed their resignation as a way of “speaking truth to power” and ticked off several complaints they had with Trump's agenda, including budget cuts to the arts, his transgender military ban, and his refugee ban, among other things.
“Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed,” they said.
Their resignation came just a days after Trump announced that he would disband two of his advisory committees made up of business leaders. As was previously reported, Trump made that announcement on Wednesday, after several CEOs resigned.
According to a statement obtained by CNBC, the business leaders saw debates over their participation in the Strategy and Policy Forum as too much of a distraction:
Several CEOs, including Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth Frazier and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, quit Trump's manufacturing council after his comments regarding the situation in Charlottesville. Trump drew widespread criticism after he blamed, on Saturday, both left-wing and right-wing sides for violence in Charlottesville.