President Donald Trump will give legendary actor Jon Voight the National Medal of Arts during a White House ceremony Thursday, UPI reported.
And the fact that Voight, 80, is an unabashed supporter of Trump hasn’t been lost on the left.
For starters, Peter Nicholas wrote in the Atlantic that Trump giving “MAGA enthusiast” Voight the prestigious honor is a move to “exploit power by making the cultural world a political prop.”
What’s the background?
Voight — a critically acclaimed, Academy Award-winning actor — has gone on the record multiple times supporting Trump, but his conservative views were well known before Trump took office.
- In 2014, for example, Voight decried illegal immigration, the Benghazi scandal, the IRS scandal, and the VA scandal while saying many of his predictions about then-President Obama appeared to be coming to pass.
- A month before the 2016 election, Voight released a video urging Americans to vote for Trump, saying he “will save our America, and he will certainly make it great again.”
- Days after Trump’s inauguration, Voight said he believed the new president perhaps assembled the best Cabinet since President George Washington’s in 1789.
- Voight in May released two more videos reaffirming his support for Trump, he called him “the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.”
What’s the beef over Trump giving Voight the award?
Nicholas added in his piece that Trump apparently bypassed the committee that recommends award recipients to presidents — and when the committee members “looked at the names, some members objected to what they saw as partisan political considerations or a lack of diversity” among Trump’s picks.
Who made Trump’s list?
Besides Voight, the president also chose all five U.S. military bands, bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, and Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and chief executive officer of WETA, a public broadcasting station in the Washington, D.C., area, Nicholas reported.
One member of the National Council on the Arts — which works with the National Endowment for the Arts to recommend award recipients — told Nicholas “there was alarm, and some surprise” over Trump’s picks and that “we all immediately recognized that not only were recommendations not followed, but the kind of diversity we had striven for in the past in the various [artistic] disciplines had not been followed.”
Adding to the outrage is that Trump — unlike past presidents going all the way back to Ronald Reagan who set up the award — completely ignored the National Medal of Arts in 2017 and 2018, the Atlantic said.
Another council member added to Nicholas that “the traditional disciplines, such as dance, theater, or literature, weren’t represented in whatever capacity. And it clearly seems to be a political agenda by the president.”
And a third council member said Trump failed to pick a person of color, which is “deeply troubling and disturbing, especially given the current climate, when there are groups of people in this country who feel under duress,” the Atlantic noted.
Writer Tobias Wolff, who got a National Medal of Arts from Obama, also was outraged by Trump’s picks, the outlet said.
“What true artist would accept [the medal] from these hands?” Wolff asked Nicholas, later adding that “it’s kind of ridiculous for this particular president to be handing out awards for the arts, especially when he himself is so sublimely uninterested in them.”
(H/T: Hot Air)