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Arts council members call for Trump to step down in their resignation letter

In a letter announcing their resignation, several members of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) called on him to step down as well if he can't vocally denounce white supremacy.

The group cites President Trump’s “un-American” comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Va., as the last straw for them, but they list multiple other controversies that the president has been involved in before the rally, including "undermining the Civil Rights Act" and his proposed cuts to arts funding. 

The first letter of each paragraph in the letter spells out "resist," a reference to liberal efforts to counter Trump's agenda.

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"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," it reads. 

“The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. ... Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed." 

The members of the group include actor Kal Penn, director George Wolfe and artist Chuck Close and serves to advise the president on things like health, education and business.

"Elevating any group that threatens and discriminates on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, orientation, background, or identity is un-American," the letter states.

“The false equivalencies you push cannot stand,” the letter says.

“We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions.”

The letter continues that art is about “inclusion” and a free press and mentions that Trump has “attacked both.”

“Speaking truth to power is never easy, Mr. President,” the letter reads. “But it is our role as commissioners on the PCAH to do so.”

Some of the council's members from the Obama administration quit the commission immediately after Trump won the election, but others stayed on.

The move comes after at least a dozen CEOs of prominent companies left several of Trump’s advisory councils in the past week over his comments on the Charlottesville rally, during which one died and 19 more were injured when a car drove into a group of counterprotesters.

Trump dissolved two of the advisory panels this week as they were falling apart. 

In addition, at least three major charities have canceled events that were scheduled to be held at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's private resort in Florida.

Trump has been taking heavy criticism for suggesting that there are multiple sides to blame for the violence at the rally, refusing to put all the blame on the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who organized the event.

Trump said "many sides" share blame after Charlottesville and that there were some "very fine people" among the white supremacists. 

“Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values,” the former arts council members wrote. “If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.”