Pulitzer-prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly has declared his resignation from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. The announcement came on Tuesday, and his stated reason for leaving was their cowardice in not awarding Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) the annual medal for distinguished public service. Let’s see what he meant.

Former White House Photographer

Kennerly was President Ford’s former White House photographer. In his letter of resignation, he stated that he couldn’t continue because of the board’s reasoning for denying Cheney the award.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

According to correspondence, the board denied Cheney the award because it feared repercussions if Donald Trump were re-elected as president.

Three Rejections

Kennerly had made the case for Cheney to get the award three times before, but each time he did, his suggestion was turned down. He eventually realized that something deeper was at play.

Source: Flickr/Dani Fahmay

He accused those on the committee of letting the same forces undermining Republican institutions today affect the celebration of recognizing Ford’s virtues in others.

Possibility of Getting Tax-Exempt Status Revoked

One of the things Kennerly mentioned in his message was that he knew the members of the executive council were worried about the foundation losing its tax-exempt status. If Trump were re-elected.

Source: Flickr/Simon Cunningham

The committee believed that if they were to choose Cheney for the award, Trump might punish them by removing their tax-exempt status.

Cheney Might Have Been Considering Running for President

In a statement, executive director of the Ford Foundation Gleaves Whitney said that it was less than prudent to consider Cheney for the award if she was mulling a presidential run.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

While selecting Cheney this year wasn’t prudent, Whitney stated that she embodies all the criteria they need in someone they give the award to, and she may get it in the future.

Historical Irony Lost on The Foundation

Kennerly noted that the executive committee seemed to be completely unaware of the historical irony of the situation. He reminded them that Ford became president because of Nixon’s impropriety.

Source: Flickr/manhhai

The Nixon administration attempted to detail a list of enemies and use the IRS to silence them. He noted that something similar may happen if Trump is re-elected.

A Clear and Present Danger to Democracy

In his letter, Kennerly targeted the institutions that cowered in the face of a second Trump term in office. He expressed his disappointment that the Ford Foundation was one of them.

Source: Flickr/Hollywata

He said that he thought the foundation was better than that, and they would stand up for what was right, regardless of the outcome. He suggested this sort of behavior was the road to authoritarianism.

Accused Of Not Supporting Democracy

Kennerly also said that their cowering and kowtowing to the man before he even came to power was an example of an institution that didn’t support democracy.

Source: Flickr/Joe Shlabotnik

He said that America still had champions of democracy out there, trying to fight to preserve the Constitution and the American way of life with its freedoms, but the foundation didn’t have those heroes’ backs.

What Would Ford Have Done?

He suggested that by failing to recognize what Cheney was doing and how she was supporting the fight for democracy, the foundation was hunkering down behind a stone wall.

Source: Flickr/US Coast Guard Academy

He also said that it was likely President Ford would have stood behind Cheney in her fight to preserve democracy and defend it from the likes of people who were okay with overthrowing the elected government.

A Short-Sighted Decision

According to Kennerly, he thinks Ford would have thrown caution to the wind to do the right thing, standing behind those who stood for democracy despite potential consequences.

Source: Flickr/Cathy

He criticized the foundation’s decision not to select Cheney for the award as short-sighted but lamented that the foundation passed up a chance to send a message to everyone.

Standing Up Against Tyranny

Ford’s time in office was highlighted by the rule of law, commitment to allies, and the challenge of authoritarian rule anywhere in the world.

Source: Flickr/rachaelvoorhees

Choosing Liz Cheney for the award would show the world that the Ford Foundation held firm to those core beliefs, would have honored his memory, and would have shown that they feared no evil.

Cheney’s Outspokenness is Well Documented

Cheney has constantly said that a second Donald Trump term could mean the end of democracy as we know it. She’s not the only one who has highlighted this potential problem.

Source: Flickr/U.S. Department of Agriculture

Many people from both sides of the political aisle recognized the threat Trump poses to democracy after the January 6th insurrection perpetuated by his most loyal followers.

Persecution For Those Who Disagree

Trump’s former stint as president also highlighted how he would likely treat people who disagreed with him. In countless situations, he persecuted those who tried to stop him.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Most people who lived through the Trump administration’s first time don’t want another one. From the military to other Republicans, few people want him to be re-elected because of his activities.

A Choice Of No Choices

With election fever starting to heat up, the electorate is presented with two choices of individuals who have their own marks against them.

Source: Flickr/duncan cumming

Voters who don’t belong to either major party will have difficulty deciding between a known liar, fraudster, and cheat and an older man who probably should not be put back in office.

Kennerly Sad to Go

On X, Kennerly said that it was a tough decision to make to leave the Foundation behind. He had hoped to make a difference and show other conservatives that there were people who still stood for democracy and freedom. But the foundation’s latest move made him realize that they weren’t that sort of people.

Source: Flickr/TEDxBend

He called on people around the country, Republicans and Democrats, to defend freedom and hold their officials accountable. He said that more people should follow Liz Cheney’s lead and speak out in favor of democracy. Trump has shown himself to be an enemy of democracy, and the people of the US have a right to make sure he doesn’t destroy their country’s legacy.