The chair of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts says he and three other commissioners have been asked to resign or be fired.
Justin Shubow, chair of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and a fierce advocate of classical architecture, provided NPR with a copy of a letter he received from Catherine M. Russell, director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, requesting his resignation. The letter, dated May 24, says, “Should we not receive your resignation, your position with the Commission will be terminated effective 6:00 pm tonight.”
Shubow, appointed to chair the commission by former President Donald Trump in 2018, declined the invitation.
The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts is an independent federal agency that advises the president, Congress and the Washington, D.C., government “on matters of design and aesthetics.” It reviews designs “proposed for memorials, coins, medals, and new or renovated government buildings.”
Shubow’s response to the White House’s request to resign says, “As chairman of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, I was shocked and dismayed to learn that three of my fellow commissioners, along with myself, have been asked to resign or be terminated by the President. In the Commission’s 110-year history, no commissioner has ever been removed by a President, let alone the commission’s chairman. Any such removal would set a terrible precedent.”
NPR has requested a comment from the White House.