Trump disbands economic panels
CEOs had resigned over president’s response to rally
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.