Gerald Ford Photographer Resigns From Ford Foundation, Says Board Cowardly For Refusing Liz Cheney an Award

David Hume Kennerly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer in the Gerald Ford White House and a trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, resigned over the foundation’s board cowardice to award Liz Cheney a medal for Distinguished Public Service out of fear of Trump’s retaliation.

Kennerly in the letter slammed his fellow board members, accusing the leadership of being “cowed by a demagogue” and calling the executive committee’s decision not to award Cheney, a Republican and fierce Trump critic, “inexplicable.”

Kennerly said that a “key reason” that Cheney’s nomination was turned down was “agita” about retribution if Trump were reelected, and some members’ fears that the Internal Revenue Service would target the foundation’s tax-exempt status.

The historical irony was completely lost on you. Gerald Ford became president, in part, because Richard Nixon had ordered the development of an enemies list and demanded his underlings use the IRS against those listed.  ...Many foundations, organizations, corporations, and other entities are caught up in this tidal wave of timidity and fear that’s sweeping this country. I mistakenly thought we were better than that. This is the kind of acquiescent behavior that leads to authoritarianism. President Ford most likely would have come out even tougher and said that it leads directly to fascism.

“If the foundation that bears the name of Gerald R. Ford won’t stand up to this real threat to our democracy,” Kennerly added, “who will?”

See the letter in its entirety below:

Cheney was nominated three separate times, after others chosen had turned down the award.

Liz Cheney joined the Ford Foundation board in 2021 for a three-year term. Dick Cheney was President Ford’s chief of staff.

Detroit News, Politico