- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2017

The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities announced its plans to resign Friday, making it the first White House department to do so.

“We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” reads the joint letter members wrote to President Trump.

The group said Mr. Trump’s words about pinning blame on both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend was the tipping point for their decision. The city erupted into chaos after white nationalists and protesters clashed over a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The 17-member committee was appointed by former President Barack Obama, but hasn’t convened under the Trump administration. Members include Vicki Kennedy, widow of late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, actor Kal Penn and artist Chuck Close.

First lady Melania Trump serves as the honorary chairwoman of the committee.

The group’s goal was to share American culture abroad and work with educators in the states. They cited the withdrawal from the Paris agreement and “gutting” funding towards diplomacy in favor of war as other reasons for resigning.

“Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed,” the letter reads.

The president was forced to disband his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and Strategy & Policy Forum this week after several CEOs resigned over Mr. Trump’s reaction to the neo-Nazi protests.

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