BREAKING NEWS: Finally, actual evidence that Trump plans to recommend eliminating the NEA and NEH


Vincenzo Camuccini’s commemoration of the day. He supported the arts, too.

It’s the Ides of March and President Trump has been busy with his knife.

This afternoon, Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, called in her staff to announce that the President has recommended the elimination of both cultural agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His budget will call for defunding both. A Republican White House political appointee was in the room during the meeting.


He supports the arts, too.

The decision now moves to the House of Representatives, where both cultural agencies have a great deal support, as we wrote about here. It’s time to flood the offices of your Congressional representative with letters and phone calls of support. Don’t know who your representative is? You’re not alone. Find it here.

“Now we know for sure where the president stands on the issue,” said Dana Gioia, California poet laureate and a former chairman of the NEA. “It is fortunate that in America we have a division of powers. The decision is now with Congress. I am confident that they will make the right decisions for our civic and cultural welfare.”


Courage, Ms. Chu!

He added: “I urge everyone to write their representative in the House to speak for their cultural agencies.We want to win votes in the House!”

How is “defunding” different from the “elimination” of the agencies? An agency cannot be removed immediately. Its funding will be slashed over a period of several years as it winds down its operations.



Seriously, though, if those hostile to the cultural agencies a quarter-of-a-century ago could not close the NEA – at a time when it was supporting photographs of crucifixes in urine – how will they successfully axe an agency that is now renowned for Shakespeare performances, jazz, and veterans writing about their war experiences? It seems little short of delusional. But let’s take no chances.

Speaking of William Shakespeare, let me repeat: it’s the Ides of March – you know, the day a mob of lynchers killed Julius Caesar. Let us echo Mark Anthony‘s words on this occasion: “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war!”

Postscript 3/15: And the race is on: Twitchy reported this story about  here. But they were citing The Hill here, but The Hill was reporting from Sopan Deb‘s 7:45 p.m. article from The New York Times here. But you read it first here, folks. And had you not read it here at about 11.30 a.m., you would not be reading it anywhere else. Stay tuned, folks. Postscript on 3/16: London’s Independent names Humble Moi, if not the Book Haven, in its story here.

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13 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: Finally, actual evidence that Trump plans to recommend eliminating the NEA and NEH”

  1. Mickey Love Says:

    The arts drive the economy and save lives. The great minds of Churchill and Roosevelt saw the value of the arts. So should you.

  2. Margy Waller Says:

    Thank you for covering this. Here’s our take on how to talk about saving the NEA.

  3. ActiveCultures Says:

    It’s time to lobby in person.

    Arts Advocacy Day
    March 20-21, 2017 in Washington, DC

    Arts advocates from across the country convene in Washington, DC for our annual Arts Advocacy Day each year. Arts Advocacy Day brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with more than 500 grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.

  4. Cynthia Haven Says:

    Great idea!

  5. Cynthia Haven Says:

    Thanks, Margy!

  6. Cynthia Haven Says:


  7. Paul m. Strohm Says:

    Why is it that when progressives talk about reducing subsidies for corporations saying let them make it in the marketplace or fail they also say the Arts need public subsidies? I don’t get it. Tax payer money is spent willynilly on support of multiple Art installations each year. Kids in Des Moines get to watch a digitalized ballet, etc. Public broadcasting and Public TV wouldn’t make it today without corporate sponsorship. That should be a clue as to how much the public is interested. I love the stuff myself but most of the people I know don’t give a damn. Isn’t the growing angst in the progressive class merely another flip flop to dog smack Trump for being a philistine? You do know he has supported and attended many of the Art galas in NY. The upper classes love to put on a tux and smirk. The Arts will survive as do all mimimalistic cultural small group activities. I will continue to listen to NPR, maybe not. There is always the library with more public computers and less books.

  8. Erik Says:

    I could care less. These organizations are more about pushing agenda and being fundraisers than their supposed objective. Art today is garbage and “humanities” is just another arm of the liberal brain bleaching apparatus. If these “beloved” organizations are so necessary I’m certain the leftists will flood their coffers with money and make retarded commercials to help the cause.

  9. MD Dermatoloji Says:

    I just only to say; “If the world were clear, art would not exist.” Albert Camus…

  10. Jeff S. Says:

    One thing the recent debate about the NEA has shown me is how terrible the NEA and its supporters still are at showing the public what the agency actually does. I write this as someone whose 21 years of living and working in D.C. made him dearly love the idea of a much leaner federal government, and who has never received a public subsidy to write or make art: in 2017, it’s just plain ignorant to believe that the NEA is writing big checks so talentless hippies can smear themselves with chocolate on stage (or whatever nonsense it is people assume “arts funding” comprises). I don’t doubt we’re funding a little bit of junk here and there, but I can live with that, because the NEA, I’ve come to realize, is picking up the slack on art and culture where our education system has failed: classical music performances in schools, formal poetry recitals in schools, student tickets for Shakespeare performances…in not a few cases, the NEA is supporting a roster of canonical, Western high culture that traditionalists and cultural conservatives have long claimed to champion.

    In recent years, advocates of public arts funding have focused perhaps too much on the “economic multiplier” argument, followed by the too-utilitarian “the arts helps you in STEM fields” argument, when there’s also a counterintuitive cultural argument to be made, one that might persuade a few of the detractors who rarely know the first thing about the agency they think they’re supposed to oppose.

  11. Cynthia Haven Says:

    Thanks for this, Jeff. Thoughtful, as always.

  12. Adonis Villanueva Says:

    He plans to build a wall and now attack the arts. Creatives drive progress and technology. Why stall progress?

  13. Kay Kite Says:

    To address Erik; anytime someone says “art today is garbage” and humanities is “just another arm of the liberal brain bleaching apparatus”, I wonder if they are readers and keen observers. I have only to walk into a book store, high school or college life drawing class, art museum or art festival to see amazing proof that art and literature are alive and well. One can always find the junk but it should not be held up as justification to defund the valuable work that is being done because of the support given the NEA and NEH. Look again, Erik.