If there is one thing those of us who oppose Trump can celebrate about the man and his presidency, it is his propensity to abandon proposals he had previously championed — like completely dismantling Obamacare or putting Hillary Clinton in prison, to name a few. His administration’s new budget blueprint, which excludes, for instance, funding for a border wall, is a perfect example.
Not long ago, the Trump administration promised a budget that would entirely defund the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH). In other words, the federal budget, as Trump, the Heritage Foundation, and other right-wing organizations and individuals around the country conceived it, would have signaled the end of the government’s interest in the cultural wellbeing of its country.
But, thanks to the, uh, flexibility of the Trump administration, the Fiscal 2018 budget blueprint not only includes funding for the CPB, but also increases the (still diminutive) funding for the NEH and NEA by $2 million, total.
Arguments for keeping the NEA, the potential defunding of which garnered widespread public attention, came from both sides of the aisle. It’s worth remembering, though, that the eradication of the NEA has long been a goal of the more rightwing factions of the political spectrum, due to a preference for small government, a misunderstanding of the purpose of art, and somewhat puritanical concerns regarding certain NEA-funded pieces.