Hollywood stars attending an inaugural ball celebrating the arts on Friday slammed President Trump for considering a proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Tim Daly, who plays Henry McCord on CBS' "Madam Secretary," called it a "huge mistake" to strip funding from an organization that provides grants for art programs across the country.
Daly said the move would mostly impact the smallest cities and communities that otherwise wouldn't have access to the arts.
"The very people, actually, who voted for him," said Daly, president of the Creative Coalition, which hosted the event.
He added that the ball, which was being feted as "the right to bear arts," is coming at a critical time for the art and entertainment industry.
The Hill reported earlier this week that Trump's team was preparing dramatic cuts in his budget proposal, aiming to slash federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years. The blueprint being used would completely eliminate the NEA.
Advocates for the arts and other initiatives such as public broadcasting have started gearing up for a fight over possible cuts to federal funding.
The NEA secured $148 million from the federal government in 2016, a relatively thin slice of the nearly $4 trillion federal budget, but has long been a target of conservatives who point to it as an example of unnecessary government spending.
Daly said funding the NEA is a smart business decision, since every $1 of NEA grants generates another $7 in the economy.
"Orange is the New Black" star Jackie Cruz said acting saved her life and she considers attacks on the NEA as unacceptable.
"It's ridiculous," she told The Hill. "We need art in our lives."
Alysia Reiner, another figure on the Netflix comedy drama, extolled the power of entertainment to move the needle on important cultural and social issues.
Actors including Christina Hendricks of "Mad Men," Cheryl Hines of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and Alia Shawkat of "Arrested Development" got up on stage and shared stats about the NEA before a performance by Blues Traveler.
"We shouldn't zero it out," said Geoffrey Arend, of "Madam Secretary." "We should add more money."
After someone quoted a line in support of the arts from Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), accidentally calling her "slaughterhouse," Reiner joked: "Don't slaughterhouse" NEA funding.
The stars came out in Washington on Friday night during a series of parties marking Trump's inauguration, which was punctuated with protests Friday.
Thousands of women are also expected to march Saturday in Washington. Cruz said she was excited for the Women's March, which is expected to be the largest demonstration surrounding Trump's inauguration.
Dean Norris, an actor on "Breaking Bad," said he could already feel a smaller Hollywood presence for Trump's inauguration and said he worried about the prospect of Trump abolishing the NEA.
"It's surreal," Norris told The Hill. "We're here celebrating the arts. It's taken on an extra sense of urgency now that we heard they want to defund the NEA."
When pressed on whether he thought Trump was picking a war with Hollywood, Daly reminded the president that celebrities – including Trump himself – have used their platforms to seek office.
"It's [the Republican Party] who puts celebrities in office," Daly said.