Majority of US Asian American and Pacific Islander Council resign

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Logo of White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Sixteen of the 20 people serving on a U.S. initiative to improve the lives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have resigned.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

80 Percent of U.S. Asian American and Pacific Islander Council Resign

Sixteen of the 20 people serving on a U.S. initiative to improve the lives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have resigned.CGTN's Jessica Stone reports.

Ten members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders resigned last week to protest the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump. They also noted opposition to repealing the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” and building a wall between the United States and Mexico.

This is a second wave of resignations from the commission; six members resigned in January.

“We can no longer serve a president whose policies aim to create outcomes that are diametrically opposite to our principles, goals and charge,” the resigning commissioners said in a letter sent to President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

CGTN White White House correspondent Jessica Stone asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to respond. Spicer said advisory councils like these tend to turn over with a new administration.

“I don’t think it’s surprising that people who were appointed by Barack Obama to fulfill his agenda suddenly understand that there’s a new administration in town and didn’t want to stay on board,” Spicer said. “But we will make sure that we appoint people to this task force. It’s important. It’s something that’s provided guidance to multiple presidents in the past and we will continue to do that.”

President Bill Clinton created the commission in 1999, and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama reauthorized it.

The commissioners’ terms were already scheduled to end in September, but the former chair, Tung Nguyen of San Francisco, said they could no longer serve with this administration. Nguyen said they had tried to communicate with the Trump administration since the president’s election but have not been able to make any headway.

“We basically have been informed that we are not to communicate with them unless it’s something that is congruent or in the same direction as their policies,” Nguyen said. “We were supposed to be the connector (between the White House and their communities) and we were told that unless those concerns were aligned with the administration’s actions or agenda, there was no point in doing it.”

This year marked the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to authorize internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II, said Nguyen, who has been on the commission since 2011.

“We could no longer sit and decide to do nothing,” he said, while the administration is putting forth its policies on immigration, health care and sanctuary cites.

Here is the full resignation letter:

Story by CGTN and Associated Press

Daphne Kwok discusses Asian American Council resignations

To better understand the Asia council resignations, CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Daphne Kwok, one of the Commissioners to resign under the Trump administration. She was the Chair of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders.