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Sen. Udall’s wife joins angry exodus from arts commission

WASHINGTON – Jill Cooper Udall, the wife of Democratic Sen. Tom Udall, is among 16 remaining members of the President’s Commission on Arts and Humanities who resigned their positions Friday in response to President Donald Trump’s remarks about racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., last week.

In a sharply worded letter, the resigning commissioners said “reproach and censure” were needed after he blamed both sides for violence that killed a woman who was protesting a demonstration by white supremacists.

Jill Cooper Udall

The resignations come in the same week that Trump’s Manufacturing Council and Strategy and Policy Forum were disbanded by the White House after a series of resignations by high-profile chief executive officers sitting on the boards, also because of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence.

After receiving the resignation letter Friday, the White House said it had planned to allow the commission to expire at the end of the year anyway, calling it a waste of tax dollars.

“The false equivalencies you push cannot stand,” the arts commission’s letter said. “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.”

The letter also urges Trump to resign if he doesn’t change his tune.

“Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values,” the letter says. “Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office.”

The letter said the commission was created in 1982 under then-President Ronald Reagan to advise the White House on cultural issues. Most of the commission’s members were appointed by former President Barack Obama.

On Tuesday, Sen. Udall told KOAT-TV in Albuquerque that Trump is “unfit” for the presidency.

CENSURING TRUMP: Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján on Friday co-sponsored a resolution to censure President Donald Trump for claiming that both sides were to blame for a deadly confrontation over race in Charlottesville.

The resolution, speaheaded by Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., was introduced Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

“We have a duty in Congress to forcefully rebuke President Trump’s conduct, which goes against the values of our country and diminishes the office of the president,” Lujan Grisham said. “The president’s failure to condemn white supremacist groups and their racist actions is not acceptable. Likewise, Congress has a moral imperative to condemn the president for lack of action.”

Lujan Grisham is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of New Mexico in 2018.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also endorsed the censure resolution. A censure by Congress is a formal statement of disapproval of a president, a member of Congress, a judge or a Cabinet member.

Michael Coleman: