Trump dis­bands eco­nomic pan­els

CEOs had re­signed over pres­i­dent’s re­sponse to rally

The Commercial Appeal - - Business -

USA TO­DAY

The fall­out from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s re­sponse to the Char­lottesville tragedy es­ca­lated Wed­nes­day as more prom­i­nent CEOs quit ad­vis­ing the White House on eco­nomic mat­ters and Trump dis­banded his man­u­fac­tur­ing and busi­ness pol­icy coun­cils.

“Rather than putting pres­sure on the busi­ness­peo­ple of the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Coun­cil & Strat­egy & Pol­icy Fo­rum, I am end­ing both. Thank you all!” Trump tweeted.

Campbell Soup CEO Denise Mor­ri­son and 3M CEO Inge Thulin on Wed­nes­day joined a grow­ing list of chief ex­ec­u­tives who are leav­ing the pres­i­dent’s man­u­fac­tur­ing job coun­cil, an ad­vi­sory group the White House formed this year.

Pres­sure from the busi­ness com­mu­nity has been in­ten­si­fy­ing since Trump’s widely crit­i­cized re­sponse to vi­o­lence that erupted af­ter a neo-Nazi rally in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, over the week­end.

On Mon­day, Merck CEO Ken Fra­zier be­came the first ma­jor Amer­i­can chief ex­ec­u­tive to speak out against Trump’s re­sponse, quit­ting the man­u­fac­tur­ing coun­cil as “a mat­ter of per­sonal con­science.”

Fra­zier’s de­ci­sion was fol­lowed hours later by CEOs for other com­pa­nies on the coun­cil, in­clud­ing In­tel and Un­der Ar­mour.

With the hash­tag #Quit­the­coun­cil trend­ing, res­ig­na­tions con­tin­ued in the past 48 hours as the chief ex­ec­u­tives of AFLCIO, 3M, Campbell Soup and Al­liance for Amer­i­can Man­u­fac­tur­ing also ditched their re­la­tion­ships with the pres­i­dent.

Trump’s ini­tial re­fusal to name the spe­cific hate groups that ral­lied in Char­lottesville moved the other CEOs to walk away while ex­tolling diversity and tol­er­ance as com­pany val­ues.

Af­ter in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal pres­sure, Trump re­lented and men­tioned the hate groups, in­clud­ing neo-Nazis and the KKK. But in a defiant re­turn to form, Trump stood be­fore re­porters on Tues­day and said coun­ter­protesters were also to blame for the tragedy that left three dead and dozens hurt.

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