'Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions'

By Sarah Weldon
August 18, 2017 at 11:39 AM EDT
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Desiree Navarro/WireImage; Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

UPDATE: In response to the members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigning, the White House claimed Trump had already decided to disband the group.

But actor Kal Penn didn’t agree with the White House’s statement.

EARLIER: In a growing trend amongst presidential advisory boards, the remaining members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities have resigned.

On Friday morning, Designated Survivor actor and committee member Kal Penn tweeted out the resignation letter, citing Trump’s “both sides” comments after the white supremacist riots Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one woman dead and many others injured.

“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 members wrote in the joint letter to the President. “The false equivalencies you push cannot stand. The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions.”

Members of the group, which was founded in 1982 during Ronald Reagan’s administration and advises the White House on cultural issues, were hopeful that by remaining on the committee they would be able to continue its important work. First Lady Melania Trump is the honorary chairwoman of the committee.

The committee also stated that “ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions.”

Prior to Friday’s resignation, committee members included Penn, Paula Boggs, Chuck Close, and George C. Wolfe, all of whom were all holdovers from the Obama Administration.

Many members of the committee quit after Trump’s victory last fall, but the remaining people reportedly agreed to continue serving in until the Trump Administration named replacements.

Read the entirety of the letter here:

As Soledad O’Brien pointed out on Twitter, the first letter of each paragraph in the note spells out “RESIST.”

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