"Designated Survivor" star Kal Penn, others, resign from presidential arts committee amid Charlottesville backlash
ABC/Bob D’Amico(WASHINGTON D.C.) — Actor Kal Penn has resigned from the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities following President Trump’s response to the deadly Charlottesville attack.
The actor tweeted the announcement, attaching a formal statement from himself and the other members of the committee, who had been appointed by President Obama.
A few hours later, he tweeted an update, declaring, “All members have now resigned. Per @politico, PCAH is an official agency, that makes this the 1st White House department to resign.”
First lady Melania Trump is the honorary chair of the PCAH.
“The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill,” the statement reads in part, adding, “We cannot sit idly by…without speaking out against your words and actions…. “Elevating any group that threatens and discriminates on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, orientation, background, or identity is un-American.”
President Trump has been widely criticized for his response after white supremacists and counter-protesters clashed in Virginia last Saturday. Thirty-two-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer [HIGH-yer] was killed when James Alex Fields Jr., allegedly allied with the white supremacists, drove his car into a crowd.
While Trump called Fields “disgrace” and condemned “those who cause violence…including the [Ku Klux Klan], neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups,” as, “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” he caught flak for blaming “both sides” for the violence that took place.
Penn starred on TV’s House when Barack Obama took office. His character was killed off so he could take a job in Obama’s White House, where he worked for a year in the Office of Public Engagement. He remained a member of the PCAH after he returned to acting.
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