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Kal Penn Criticizes Trump as a “Tiny-Fingered Vulgarian”

Last week, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned en masse with a powerful letter condemning Trump’s response to Charlottesville and other acts of his administration that attack diplomacy, dialogue, and equality.

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With the beginning of each paragraph spelling out RESIST and an ending that calls for his resignation, the letter was a largely symbolic act that gave us all a look into what patriotism really looks like—not silence, blind loyalty, or cowardice—but standing up against those who attack our liberties and values.

One of the vocal members of the committee, Kal Penn, had worked for the White House under President Obama and has served as an active and outspoken activist with his celebrity platform. This morning, Penn appeared on CNN’s New Day to talk more about the resignation decision, explaining that while the members felt their work was non-partisan and important, “the response to Charlottesville—his response—was the worst of who we are. And we just felt like that was not who we are at all and we are better than that and this was an opportunity to show that.”

However, that doesn’t mean their work or initiatives stopped completely. Penn talks about the importance of economic progress and arts education and shares out that one of their programs, Turn Around Arts, has now been moved to the Kennedy Center.

Co-host Chris Cuomo then brings up a side that many expressed, which was that perhaps the committee’s actions were defeatist, and more good could be done from within the White House than outside it. In response, the actor says it saw it the opposite way, saying, “This is largely a dysfunctional government period” and “If government is so dysfunctional and you can’t get anything done what if we focus on things outside of government to actually do those things together?”

Penn points out that the “vibrant programs” of the committee can carry on outside government Turn Around Arts’ will. “You have a White House that has gone into federal agencies and essentially, put in a freeze—so they’re wasting tax payer dollars, the agencies are often not allowed to do anything at all….We felt like this was a point where an opportunity to resign en masse would send a stronger message about who I think the majority of Americans really are, the love that we have for each other, the opportunity to move the country forward in ways that a lot of folks are doing outside of government.”

The actor also adds, “Look, you’re dealing with a tiny-fingered vulgarian who loves to tweet crazy things as his way of getting policy done? Come on. We’re better than that.”

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: screencap)

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