President Trump’s decision to participate in recognizing a National Medal of Arts recipient this year after not doing so in previous years has set off critics.
But the president’s choice of who will be receiving the award has the left even more outraged.
Trump-supporting legendary actor Jon Voight is set to receive the National Medal of Arts during a White House ceremony on Thursday, Fox News reported. This marks the first year Trump has participated in recognizing someone for the National Medal of Arts, as he has not presented the award since he took office.
Liberals had the predictable meltdown over news that the 80-year-old actor, who has become a vocal supporter of the president, was Trump’s choice for the award, regardless of the fact that the Academy Award-winning star of “Coming Home” and “Midnight Cowboy” deserves the recognition.
The White House noted that Voight was receiving the honor for “his exceptional capacity as an actor to portray deeply complex characters. Captivating audiences, he has given us insights into the richness of the human mind and heart.”
Voight recently released a video slamming the House impeachment inquiry into the president as “the highest form of deceit.”
May The Truth Prevail pic.twitter.com/LgDHN14cal
— Jon Voight (@jonvoight) November 14, 2019
But the president giving the “MAGA enthusiast” the award was slammed by The Atlantic‘s Peter Nicholas as a move to “exploit power by making the cultural world a political prop”
Members of the National Council on the Arts were also perturbed by Trump’s move, according to Nicholas, as he bypassed their input in choosing the recipients, who include singer Alison Krauss, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, and the musicians of the United States Military.
“What troubles some council members—apart from Trump’s unilateral decision making—is that the president has failed to honor people from a broad array of artistic backgrounds,” Nicholas wrote, adding that a council member told him it “clearly seems to be a political agenda by the president.”
Another council member complained that Trump did not 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,” according to the Atlantic article.
Trump could smooth things over, if he were inclined to try. He could dust off the recommendations from the council and give out another medal or two or three. It would seem an easy, cost-free gesture if a celebration of the arts was foremost on his mind, a way to honor people toiling in creative fields that get little national recognition. But that doesn’t seem to be what’s driving him.
The tantrum-throwing leaves little to the imagination about what’s “driving” the left.
Writer Tobias Wolff was nothing short of outraged by the president’s picks, asking Nicholas “what true artist would accept [the medal] from these hands?”
Wolff, who was presented with the National Medal of Arts from former President Obama, added 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.”
Others with views not tarnished by hatred for anything Trump touches defended Voight’s award as Sonny Bunch in the Washington Post argued that the actor’s lifetime achievements in the movie industry are undisputed and he should “feel no shame, and should be made to feel no shame by others, for accepting the National Medal of Arts from President Trump.”
“Whether Trump personally chose the actor because of his backing or whether a staffer tasked with coming up a program suggested Voight because he knows the actor is a fan is irrelevant: I have no problem whatsoever believing that the only reason the president made this call was because Voight is on Team Trump,” Bunch wrote.
“But what did observers expect to happen when attending the White House became a sort of personal litmus test in the age of Trump?” he added, noting the many snubs from professional sports teams Trump has endured. “He has no obligation to get slapped in the face in public.”
There’s no credible case to be made that Voight’s career lacks merit, and there is no reasonable justification for Voight being shamed for accepting an award acknowledging his accomplishments — except for the fact that he’s a supporter of the president. This strikes me as not only nuts, but an actively detrimental stand to take for the country, one more encroachment of the forever war that is politics onto a realm that should, theoretically, be apolitical
Voight has been one of the rare outspoken Trump supporters in Hollywood, calling him “the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln” and, back in 2016, releasing a video in which he urged Americans to vote for Trump.
The “Deliverance” star targeted Democrats in calling on Americans to “stand with our President Trump in a time of such evil words,” slamming the Democrats’ current impeachment inquiry.
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