The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Trump is killing art and culture

American culture and Trump

Last week, all 17 members of the President’s Committee of Arts and Humanities (PCAH) resigned. You may ask yourself the same thing I did initially: “President Donald Trump had a council for this?”

Many would discredit the relevance of the resignations, and many more may remind Americans the council was to be disbanded at the end of the calendar year anyway. Regardless, the resignation of an entire presidential advisory committee is a big, bad situation.

It highlights an under-discussed flaw of Trump’s presidency and of Trump himself: a lack of cultural awareness.

Proponents of Trump often say they support him because of his business insight, and it would be wrong to discount the validity of this. However, Trump seems to embody the kind of self-centered temperament seen in many of the “elitists” of America.

The famous Trump Tower, a symbol so readily displaying his success to the world, was built on the corpse of art and culture. In Trump’s own contribution to literature, “The Art of the Deal,” he recalls when he had two Bas Relief Art Deco sculptures removed in order to build the tower. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art asked he remove them safely and donate them, which he agreed to do, assuming it was not too costly. However, he went back on his word, tearing down and dumping the art pieces. 

“I just wasn’t prepared to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to save a few Art Deco sculptures that I believed were worth considerably less and perhaps not very much at all,” Trump wrote in his book.

According to Terence Cullen of the NY Daily News, the sculptures were valued at a few hundreds of thousand dollars and the two week preservation project only would have cost Trump $32,000—chump change in comparison to the estimated $300 million Trump Tower cost to build.

This story illustrates that Trump sees nothing as more important than profit margins. 

I definitely do not think being cultured is the most important aspect of a true American president. However, caring about the innate beauty in things is indicative of sentimentality, empathy and selflessness. These are all characteristics that describe the type of human being I want running my country.

While these sentiments may get in the way of running a successful business, they are essential to a person’s humanity. Thus, they are essential for someone wielding this kind of power over the lives of millions of people.

In fact, the mass resignation of the PCAH was in response to the President’s reaction (or lack thereof) to the racially-charged event in Charlottesville. In response, members of the committee stated they could not stand complicity with Trump. While Charlottesville is certainly worth a discussion all on its own, the fallout it caused relating to the PCAH is in itself a bit disconcerting.

Members of the PCAH included a Pulitzer Prize winner and the a Broadway director—having artful and powerful minds like these shun the White House is not ideal. 

In their letter of resignation, a coincidence was found. The first letter of each paragraph spelled out reads “R-E-S-I-S-T.” The #Resist movement spreading throughout the country is a call for Americans to fight against Trump, his administration and the choices they make for our country.

Outraged Americans are calling for backlash to fall on the president for his actions, and, regardless of their reasoning, it is undeniable that our president is a symbol of the bottom line trumping beauty and sophistication.

We see Trump continuously choosing money over culture and art, and as long as he remains in the Oval Office, our country is forced to do so as well.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Trump is killing art and culture