U.S. President Donald Trump says he’s ending a pair of White House advisory councils that were staffed by corporate chief executives.
Since Saturday, seven CEOs resigned from the president’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative panel after Trump blamed both sides for the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va., between white supremacists and counter protesters.
On Wednesday afternoon, Trump tweeted that he is now shutting down the manufacturing and business panels.
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”
Trump is being criticized for not explicitly condemning the white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville. The president blamed bigotry on “many sides.”
Who left in recent days?
On Monday, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier was the first to resign after Trump initially failed to explicitly denounce white nationalists. Frazier said he left the council because he has “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Trump lashed out almost immediately at Frazier on Twitter, saying Frazier “will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
The same day, Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank and Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich also resigned from the council. Plank said his company “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”
On Tuesday, Alliance for American Manufacturing president Scott Paul became the fourth person to resign. “I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do,” Paul tweeted late Tuesday morning.
That evening, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and deputy chief of staff Thea Lee said they resigned from the council
On Wednesday, following Trump’s press conference in which again blamed “both sides” for the Charlottesville violence, 3M CEO Inge Thulin also announced his decision to step down from the council.
In a statement, Thulin says: “Sustainability, diversity and inclusion are my personal values and also fundamental to the 3M Vision. The past few months have provided me with an opportunity to reflect upon my commitment to these values.”
The CEO of Campbell Soup Co. became the last member to walk away.
Campbell CEO Denise Morrison said on Wednesday in a company release: “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville. I believe the president should have been — and still needs to be — unambiguous on that point.”
With files from the Canadian Press
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