Trump Fires His Two Busi­ness Ad­vi­sory Coun­cils Be­fore They Quit

Trillions - - In This Issue -

On Au­gust 16, Pres­i­dent Trump made the cow­ardly de­ci­sion to dis­band his two busi­ness ad­vi­sory coun­cils be­fore they could quit on him.

Af­ter Trump’s dis­as­trous se­ries of tweets, pub­lic state­ments and press con­fer­ences re­gard­ing the Char­lottesville white su­prem­a­cist ral­lies, ri­ots and killing, two highly in­flu­en­tial groups of peo­ple he had ap­pointed to help him “Make Amer­ica Great Again” de­cided they’d had enough.

The fuse that started all this was lit when the Pres­i­dent grotesquely mis­p­re­sented what hap­pened at Char­lottesville on Au­gust 11 and 12. Ev­ery­thing from get­ting the ba­sic facts right (like say­ing that both of the groups he talked about ac­tu­ally had per­mits for their protests) to his un­for­give­able voice of sup­port for the white su­prem­a­cists, neo-nazis and mem­bers of the Ku Klux Klan to his bul­ly­ing of the press and vir­tu­ally any­one who saw things dif­fer­ently than he did was out of line, fac­tu­ally wrong and – to many – a demon­stra­tion of a Pres­i­dent who had be­come un­sta­ble in the face of a cri­sis. It was also a cri­sis that many felt had such an ob­vi­ous an­swer – a “soft lob” as one news com­men­ta­tor put it – for what the Pres­i­dent should have done.

In­stead of sym­pa­thiz­ing with and of­fer­ing help to those who had been hurt and the mother of the wo­man who had been killed, or con­demn­ing the ac­tions of the white su­prem­a­cists be­hind the vi­o­lence and the car-ram­ming as acts of do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism, Trump choked. He in­stead spent the next sev­eral days try­ing to do what he clearly saw as set­ting the record straight (in his mind, any­way), say­ing that some “very fine peo­ple” were among the white su­prem­a­cist marchers and that there were guilty peo­ple “on both sides.”

When crit­i­cism blew up af­ter his first state­ments about this, on Au­gust 12, some­one clearly con­vinced Trump that maybe he needed to re­con­sider things, and the next time he went on the air, he was read­ing a state­ment con­demn­ing the white su­prem­a­cist rad­i­cals – from a teleprompter. Even then, just by watch­ing his face, one could see he was strug­gling to read those words, pre­sum­ably be­cause he did not be­lieve in them. He came back two days later with a press con­fer­ence that was in­tended to fo­cus on a new in­fra­struc­ture plan but de­te­ri­o­rated rapidly into a com­plete re­pu­di­a­tion of what he had just said in the pre­vi­ous pub­lic state­ment. He also lost his tem­per, re­peated things that were com­pletely un­true and dou­bled down on his sup­port for the white su­prem­a­cists.

In the face of all this, two of what Trump seemed to have felt were his most im­por­tant ad­vi­sory groups – his Amer­i­can Man­u­fac­tur­ing Coun­cil and his Strat­egy and Pol­icy Fo­rum – be­gan to go into melt­down.

Merck CEO Ken­neth Fra­zier, the only African-amer­i­can on the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Coun­cil, was the first to an­nounce he was re­sign­ing, on Monday, Au­gust 14.

Un­der Ar­mour CEO Kevin Plank also re­signed from the

Man­u­fac­tur­ing Coun­cil on Au­gust 14, but he soft-ped­aled his an­nounce­ment by say­ing that his com­pany “en­gages in in­no­va­tion and sports, not pol­i­tics.” His de­par­ture, while yet an­other crit­i­cal loss for Trump, was seen as more about ex­pe­di­ency than any­thing else be­cause his com­pany had already been in trou­ble for some time, since Plank had de­clared that Trump was “a real as­set for the coun­try.” That state­ment launched a na­tion­wide boy­cott of the com­pany’s prod­ucts, in protest of the po­si­tion at the time.

In­tel’s CEO also an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion from the coun­cil around the same time.

Pres­i­dent Trump was defiant then, call­ing those who had re­signed from the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Coun­cil “grand­standers” and say­ing “for ev­ery CEO that drops out of the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Coun­cil, I have many to take their place.”

Camp­bell Soup CEO Denise Mor­ri­son, un­der pres­sure from the pub­lic, with so­cial me­dia la­bel­ing her as the “Soup Nazi” with “Cream of Com­plic­ity” as one of her com­pany’s prod­ucts, left the coun­cil be­fore the fate­ful ex­plo­sive Tuesday Pres­i­den­tial press con­fer­ence.

John­son & John­son CEO Alex Gorsky, who on Tuesday had said he planned to stay on with the coun­cil, changed his mind quickly as he, too, be­gan feel­ing pres­sure. He re­signed the next day, declar­ing “the Pres­i­dent’s most re­cent state­ments equat­ing those who are mo­ti­vated by race-based hate with those who stand up against ha­tred are un­ac­cept­able and have changed our de­ci­sion to par­tic­i­pate in the White House Man­u­fac­tur­ing Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil.”

Sep­a­rately, the Pres­i­dent’s Strat­egy and Pol­icy Fo­rum was meet­ing qui­etly to dis­cuss what to do in re­sponse to Trump’s po­si­tions. Mul­ti­ple res­ig­na­tions were an­tic­i­pated from that group as well, but for them as well as those ex­pected from the mem­bers left on the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Coun­cil, the Pres­i­dent ap­par­ently re­al­ized he was fac­ing yet an­other pub­lic re­la­tions dis­as­ter. He dis­banded both coun­cils be­fore they could have a chance to pub­licly snub him fur­ther, some­thing it was be­com­ing clear the Strat­egy and Pol­icy Fo­rum mem­bers had been plan­ning to do as a group.

The damage was already done to what Trump had been at­tempt­ing to ac­com­plish: show that he alone could build a unique pub­lic-pri­vate al­liance of cor­po­ra­tions to help trans­form the coun­try.

As for­mer Strat­egy and Pol­icy Fo­rum mem­ber Jamie Di­mon, CEO of Jpmor­gan, said in a state­ment re­leased af­ter his group was dis­missed, “There is no room for equiv­o­ca­tion here: The evil on dis­play by th­ese per­pe­tra­tors of hate should be con­demned and has no place in a coun­try that draws strength from our di­ver­sity and hu­man­ity.”

Fur­ther state­ments ap­peared soon af­ter from Tim Cook, CEO of Ap­ple, and many oth­ers across the coun­try, at­tack­ing Trump’s stand. It is doubt­ful that Trump will be given an­other chance to pull any of th­ese lead­ers to­gether again to help him out in the fu­ture.

Im­age by Hag­mann Re­port, CC

Photo by ramzi jlassi, CC

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.