“I quit” – Kal Penn
“You’re fired” – President Trump
(See Kal Penn’s actual response below).
Those might have been lines in a new movie which would be the latest sequel in the story of the reigning President and the feisty actor-activist, which we will call, “The Donald and Kumar Break Up.”
Kumar was the name of Kal Penn’s character in a trio of youth comedy movies, starting with Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle in 2004. In each of the movies, Kumar is an Indian American “slacker” who gets into and out of trouble but in the end, proves to be much more savvy and intelligent than anyone expects.
Donald, of course, is President Donald Trump, who had his own career (“The Apprentice”) as a media showboat and occasional actor before turning to politics.
Penn has also had his moment in the political arena, serving twice in the White House Office of Public Engagement under President Obama.
It was also President Obama who selected Penn to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanity, along with 15 others from TV, movies, music, Broadway, and the arts.
Today, all of the members of the committee resigned en masse, after sending a strongly worded letter to President Trump declaring that they are acting because “your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions…Your values are not American values.”
Being the overgrown child he is, when President Trump learned of the letter, he didn’t graciously say that he understood and thank them for them for their service.
“Earlier this month it was decided that President Trump will not renew the Executive Order for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, which expires later this year. While the committee did good work in the past, in its current form it simply is not a responsible way to spend American tax dollars.”
An interesting choice of words since none of the members are paid a single tax dollar, and under Trump – who requested all of the appointees stay on after his inaugural – the committee has been given no budget and never allowed to have a meeting.
Trump did appoint his wife Melania as Honorary Chairperson of the committee, but she never attended a meeting, met with the members or as far as we can tell, made any effort to get involved.
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) August 18, 2017
Since, as the resignation points out, Trump’s upcoming federal budget eliminates all funding for the arts and humanities, there probably wasn’t a lot to talk about.
However, Trump never got around to telling the members, who informally continued communication and working together to accomplish their goals, that he had ended their group – until today, when in a hissy fit, he essentially told them all, “You’re fired.”
Penn responded quickly and with trademark humor.
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) August 18, 2017
Maybe Penn can use some of this exchange in his new role as Seth Wright on the ABC political drama “Designated Survivor,” a show about a government official who accidentally becomes president when everybody else out attending the president’s State of the Union address is blown up and killed by terrorists.
Trump spends a lot of time worrying about terrorists but so far the only thing blowing up is his image, reputation, and administration.
If he does leave office – soon we hope – maybe he can get together with Penn and make a real movie, but this time he can write himself a good part that has a happy ending.