Trump Appointee Refuses to Resign From Arts Commission, Says His Firing is an ‘Attack On Traditional Architecture’
The Biden administration has ousted four members of a prominent arts commission inside the nation’s capital as part of an ongoing purge of Trump-appointed officials from federal agencies and boards. But at least one member of the Commission of Fine Arts is refusing to leave, CNN reports.
The seven-member commission is an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress, and government agencies on “matters of design and aesthetics” in the nation’s capital, per the commission’s website. Each of the committee’s seven commissioners was appointed by former President Donald Trump.
Each of the four members, including the chairman, was advised on Monday to resign by the end of the day. But committee chair Justin Shubow, who received a letter from the White House requesting that he resign Monday or face termination is hanging tough.
“Should we not receive your resignation, your position with the Commission will be terminated effective 6:00 p.m. tonight,” the letter read.
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Now Shubow says he wants to know why he’s being forced to resign and has refused to sign the letter. He added that he considers this “an attack on classical and traditional architecture.” The commissioners who were removed are all strong supporters of classical architectural design, he said.
Joe.My.God. notes that Trump an executive order that instructed that all federal buildings must be “beautiful.” That sounds exactly like something Trump would do. It’s possibly the one time I’d ever agree with him. Buildings that are basically monstrosities are not on my list of favorite things.
Some architects, however, don’t share my sentiments, including members of the American Institute of Architects who expressed strong opposition to Trump’s order.
“Communities should have the right and responsibility to decide for themselves what architectural design best fits their needs, and we look forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden to ensure that,” said the organization’s CEO Robert Ivy, at the time.
Biden has since revoked Trump’s executive order, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, asked about the CFA resignations during a press briefing Tuesday, said that “a number of them were nominated just recently, in January of 2021, so before President Trump left office, and certainly any president coming in has the right to nominate their own people to serve on a commission or serve in any positions in their own administration.”
Officials say Biden is hoping to add diversity and introduce a range of ideas to the commission and he is expected to introduce four new members — Peter Cook, Hazel Ruth Edwards, Justin Garrett Moore, and Billie Tsien.
“President Biden is proud to nominate this extremely qualified and well-respected group of professionals. … They will bring to the commission a diversity of background and experience, as well as a range of aesthetic viewpoints,” one White House official told CNN.
So it looks like Shubow had better pack his bags and he is not a happy camper right now and he told the network that Monday’s action “would represent a severe violation of norms.”
“In the commission’s 110-year history, no president has ever removed a commissioner, let alone a majority of the commission, and let alone the chairman,” Shubow said.
But Biden is trying to remove the vestiges of the last administration for reasons that are completely understandable. Few of us want to remember the trauma of the last four years and I’m sure that there are more than a few among those that Biden is removing who would like to impede any substantial progress. It’s an unpleasant reminder that there are those who would still see fit to further damage democracy and it’s time for these people to pack it in.