WASHINGTON—Defending his proposed elimination of the federally funded agency, President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that the wasteful National Endowment for the Arts hasn’t even produced a single valuable work since Claes Oldenburg’s Giant Three-Way Plug. “We have not seen one single NEA-backed project come close to justifying its cost since the Swedish-American sculptor debuted his Pop Art masterpiece in 1970, challenging the way we grapple with questions of industrialization and decay,” said Trump, adding that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t support an organization whose body of work includes such underwhelming artistic efforts as the Joffrey Ballet’s The Rite Of Spring and the entirety of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. “Sure, William Bolcom’s Songs Of Innocence And Of Experience moved me at times, but for every Pulitzer Prize–winning composer the NEA supports, it also funds 20 more derivative jazz quartets. Enough is enough.” Trump went on to say that PBS’s Evening At Pops, which ended in 2005, was the network’s last example of worthwhile programming.
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