Amid a number of CEOs exiting the groups since this past weekend, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he was ending his beleaguered manufacturing councils.
Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
Trump explained that he didn’t want to put any additional pressure on the remaining numbers:
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council and Strategy and Policy Forum. I am ending both.”
The decision to end the largely symbolic advisory council, comprised of many CEOs and businesspeople from several big-name organizations across the country, came in the wake of six members resigning since Saturday. The initial person to leave, Ken Frazier, did so because of Trump’s inadequate initial response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump, who said on Saturday that violence at a white supremacy rally stemmed from “many sides,” implying that counter-protesters shared in the blame for injuries and the death of a young woman, did not fully appreciate the bigotry and hatred stemming from white nationalists in Charlottesville, Frazier explained.
“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.”
Frazier’s departure did not go unnoticed by Trump, who lashed out at the Merck CEO on Twitter.
Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
That response, as well as additional inadequate and inappropriate comments from Trump since then about the Charlottesville rally, prompted five more members of the council to quit.
They include, in addition to Frazier: Inge Thulin, from 3M; Denise Morrison from Campbell’s; Brian Krzanich from Intel; Kevin Plank from Under Armour; Scott Paul from the Alliance for American Manufacturing; AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka; and Thea Lee, also from the AFL-CIO.
With today’s exits, here’s an updated list of members of Trump’s manufacturing council. pic.twitter.com/uvSGbUnPP6
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) August 15, 2017
Trump cannot seem to comprehend how important it is for Americans to hear him disavow neo-Nazis and white supremacists. On Monday, after giving a revised statement that singled out hate groups, Trump refused to answer straight-forward questions from the media, calling them “fake news” simply for asking why he hadn’t addressed those hate groups on Saturday.
And on Tuesday, he went backward, reaffirming his belief that both sides shared blame.
He also defended the idea of tearing down statues honoring Confederate actors from the Civil War.
“This week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week?”
The exodus of prominent business people from Trump’s manufacturers group signals that whatever support the president previously had is eroding, now so more than ever before. Several prominent politicians — including many from Trump’s own Republican Party — have condemned the violence themselves, and further chastised the president for not coming out stronger against bigoted groups.
Watch this video to get the real story behind Trump’s “Made in the USA” claims: