On November 1, President Donald Trump nominated Mary Anne Carter to be the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). We labored hard to affect this decision, and we are delighted with his choice.
Heading the NEA is one of the most important posts in the nation affecting the culture, and we trust that Ms. Carter will not disappoint us. She needs to be confirmed by the Senate.
Carter is well prepared to hit the ground running. She has served as senior White House advisor to the NEA since the early days of the Trump administration, and has been acting chairman since June. Her advocacy for the arts has won the plaudits of Republicans and Democrats alike.
Raised in a military family, “MAC” as she is called by her friends, was chosen by Florida Governor Rick Scott to be his chief of staff. She oversaw and implemented his agenda, handling everything from budgetary matters to communications. Prior to that position, she served as Executive Director for Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. She also did a stint at the Heritage Foundation where she was Director of U.S. Senate Relations.
This announcement means a great deal to the Catholic League. For the past ten months, we have been pushing for a morally responsible person to head the NEA. Here’s why.
At the end of last year, we learned that the most obscene assault on Christians ever staged, “Jerry Springer: The Opera,” was coming to New York City in January. An NEA grant was given to the production company of this vile musical, the New Group, under the tenure of the outgoing NEA chairman, Dr. Jane Chu.
On January 23, 2018, Bill Donohue held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. objecting to the NEA funding of the New Group. He was joined by Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center and a member of the Catholic League’s advisory board, Dr. Deal Hudson of the Christian Review and a member of the Catholic League’s board of directors, and Ralph Reed, founder and president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
The next day Donohue sent a letter to President Trump asking him to honor our request: “Please appoint someone who will not continue to fund anti-Catholic grantees, exhibitions, or performances.”
The day after Donohue’s letter to the president, the Catholic League president kept the pressure on by sending a strongly worded letter to NEA Chairman Dr. Chu, registering his concerns. She wrote back and Donohue offered a blunt response.
By choosing Mary Anne Carter to head the NEA, President Trump has made good on our request. Congratulations to him, Ms. Carter, and all of those who supported us in this effort. This is also a victory for the arts, properly understood.