As CEOs continued to drop out of the White House manufacturing jobs panel over President Donald Trump’s failure to place sole blame on white nationalists for the deadly attack in Charlottesville over the weekend, the President on Wednesday announced he was disbanding two White House jobs panels in an apparent attempt to pre-empt further defections.
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
His tweet followed announcements from the CEOs of Campbell’s Soup and 3M that they would depart his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. Trump’s announcement was also preceded by a New York Times report that said the CEOs on his Strategic and Policy Forum were preparing to disband that panel over his Charlottesville comments, too.
Although Trump claimed that he made the decision to disband the Strategic and Policy Forum on his own, in a statement to CNBC, the forum indicated that the dissolution of the panel was a mutual decision between Trump and the members of the forum.
— CNBC (@CNBC) August 16, 2017
As of Wednesday afternoon, seven business leaders had quit Trump’s manufacturing council. Four CEOs and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka had already announced their resignations from the panel earlier in the week.
“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,” Campbell’s CEO Denise Morrison said in a statement announcing her resignation from the council. “Following yesterday’s remarks from the President, I cannot remain on the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. I will continue to support all efforts to spur economic growth and advocate for the values that have always made America great.”
Campbell’s had initially said Tuesday that Morrison would remain on the council, but that statement came out before Trump placed some blame for the attack in Charlottesville on the “alt-left” in an impromptu press conference.
The CEO of 3M, Inge Thulin, did not directly mention Trump or the attack in Charlottesville in his statement, but said that the company aims to promote “diversity and inclusion.”
“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,” Thulin said in the statement.
“I joined the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative in January to advocate for policies that align with our values and encourage even stronger investment and job growth – in order to make the United States stronger, healthier and more prosperous for all people,” Thulin continued. “After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals. As a result, today I am resigning from the Manufacturing Advisory Council.”
Around the same time that Trump announced he would disband the advisory panels, Johnson and Johnson announced that CEO Alex Gorsky would leave the council.
“The President’s most recent statements equating those who are motivated by race-based hate with those who stand up against hatred is unacceptable and has changed out decision to participate in the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council,” Gorsky said in a statement.
The CEOs who sit on the manufacturing council also had been expected to speak by phone Wednesday to discuss how to proceed in the wake of Trump’s comments on Charlottesville, the New York Times reported. Apparently, Trump has made that decision for them.