Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

After disbanding two White House advisory jobs panels on Wednesday, the Trump administration announced on Thursday that they would no longer move forward with plans to form an infrastructure advisory council.

“The President has announced the end of the Manufacturing Council and the Strategy & Policy Forum. In addition, the President’s Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which was still being formed, will not move forward,” a White House official said in a statement distributed to reporters on Thursday evening.

The dissolution of the advisory panels comes after several CEOs spoke out against President Donald Trump’s failure to offer a full-throated condemnation of white nationalists after the deadly attack in Charlottesville.

After Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier slammed Trump’s comments earlier this week and quit the White House manufacturing council, several other business leaders on the manufacturing jobs advisory panel followed suit and quit in protest.

Then, as those CEOs publicly left that board, and members of another jobs panel, the Strategy & Policy Forum, worked behind the scenes to dissolve that group, Trump abruptly disbanded both panels.

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This post has been updated.

First, CEOs abandoned President Donald Trump by quitting White House advisory councils. Now, charities have begun to ditch Trump’s business by canceling fundraisers planned at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

In the wake of Trump’s failure to fully denounce white nationalists following the violence in Charlottesville, sixteen charities have cancelled events planned for Mar-a-Lago next year.

The Cleveland Clinic, a hospital network, pulled its 2018 fundraising gala from Trump’s Palm Beach club early Thursday afternoon. The clinic did not share its reasoning behind canceling plans to hold the event at Mar-a-Lago.

Then the American Cancer Society announced Thursday afternoon that it would no longer hold its annual fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in February. The charity did not mention Trump by name, but noted its commitment to diversity.

“Our values and commitment to diversity are critical as we work to address the impact of cancer in every community,” American Cancer Society spokeswoman Miriam Falco said in statement. “It has become increasingly clear that the challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations.”

Later Thursday, American Friends of Magen David Adom, a group that supports medical first responders in Israel, announced that it would no longer hold its annual fundraiser at Mar-A-Lago in 2018. The group, which held its fundraiser at Trump’s club last year, did not offer specific reasoning for pulling the event from the Trump family venue.

“After considerable deliberation, AFMDA — an apolitical and humanitarian aid organization — will not hold its 2018 Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala at Mar-a-Lago,” the group said in a statement.

Four charities announced plans to move their venues from Mar-A-Lago on Friday, including several major national foundations.

The American Red Cross, which was scheduled to hold an event in February of next year, announced that it pulled the event from Mar-A-Lago “as it has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters.”

“We believe this action will allow us to continue to put the focus on our lifesaving mission and the people we serve. The Red Cross provides assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, or political opinions, and we must be clear and unequivocal in our defense of that principle,” the organization said in a statement.

The Salvation Army, which was set to hold a fundraiser at Trump’s Palm Beach club in December, said Friday that the venue had become a distraction.

“The Salvation Army relies heavily on fundraising events like The Holiday Snow Ball in Palm Beach to further our mission of helping those in need through a range of social services including food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, clothing and shelter for the homeless, and opportunities for the underprivileged,” the group said in a statement. “Because the conversation has shifted away from the purpose of this event, we will not host it at Mar-a-Lago.”

The Susan G. Komen Foundation, a charity that fundraises for breast cancer research, told the Washington Post that they would change the venue for its event planned for January 2018, but did not offer a specific reasoning for doing so. The Autism Project of Palm Beach County also told the Washington Post on Friday that they would no longer hold a planned event at the club.

By Friday afternoon several other charities had decided to pull events from Mar-A-Lago as well, bringing the total to 16 organizations, according to an updated list from the Palm Beach Daily News.

Charities ditching Trump’s businesses is the latest bit of fallout from his comments pandering to white nationalists in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville attack. Trump on Wednesday dissolved two White House advisory boards as the CEOs on the councils began to object to Trump’s comments and leave the panels.

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James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of Rupert Murdoch, on Thursday sent an email to friends criticizing President Donald Trump’s failure to fully condemn white nationalists in the wake of the Charlottesville violence and pledging a $1 million donation to the Anti-Defamation League.

Murdoch wrote in the email first reported by the New York Times that while he rarely weighs in on public events, “what we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people.”

“These events remind us all why vigilance against hate and bigotry is an eternal obligation — a necessary discipline for the preservation of our way of life and our ideals,” Murdoch wrote. “The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob.”

“I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so,” he continued.

Murdoch’s condemnation carries weight given that his father, Rupert Murdoch is an ally and informal adviser to the President.

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The Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit health care network, announced on Thursday that it no longer plans to hold a 2018 fundraising gala at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s exclusive Palm Beach, Florida club.

“After careful consideration, Cleveland Clinic has decided that it will not hold a Florida fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in 2018. We thank the staff of Mar-a-Lago for their service over the years,” the clinic said in a statement.

The clinic would not elaborate on the reasoning behind pulling the fundraiser from Mar-a-Lago, but the decision comes in the wake of Trump’s failure to deliver a full-throated condemnation of white supremacists in the immediate wake of a car attack at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The clinic’s CEO, Toby Cosgrove, was a member of Trump’s business advisory council called the Strategic and Policy Forum, which disbanded on Wednesday. That panel, as well as the White House’s manufacturing council, was dissolved after several CEOs criticized Trump’s response to the Charlottesville attack and made moves to leave the jobs panels.

Once a top destination for fancy charity fundraisers in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago has taken a hit since Trump’s election when it comes to booking those types of events, as the Washington Post reported back in June. Although the resort appears to be flourishing otherwise, several charities have decided against holding large banquets at the club, citing the burden of increased security there.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity, has donated nearly $6 million to New York University School of Law to launch a center to help state attorneys general defend policies to combat climate change and protect the environment, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center will offer support to state attorneys general working on climate change and environmental issues and help coordinate attorneys general in several states who have similar interests. The center will also help set up the offices of state attorneys general with NYU fellows who can serve as special assistant attorneys general.

David Hayes, who served in the Department of the Interior as deputy secretary and chief operating officer for both former Presidents Bill Clinton Barack Obama, will serve as the center’s executive director.

“State attorneys general have a unique role in defending the citizens of their states from environmentally destructive actions and advancing the clean energy, climate change, and environmental interests of their constituents,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to working in close cooperation with state attorneys general around the country to support their efforts to address complex energy and environmental matters.”

Several state attorneys general have already filed lawsuits against the Trump administration over environmental regulations, such as a delay in implementing new efficiency standards for appliances like air conditioners.

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As President Donald Trump has dug his feet in following his initial failure to fully denounce white nationalists after a car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump has been acting out of anger and has become increasingly isolated in the White House this week.

After his initial statement failed to offer a full-throated condemnation of white nationalist and other hate groups, Trump was pressured by his aides to follow up with a more forceful statement. But after doing so, the President became angry and suspicious about attempts to control his messaging, prompting him to follow up with an impromptu news conference Tuesday that went off the rails when he blamed both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, Politico reported.

Trump felt vindicated following that presser, according to the Washington Post.

The President’s anger over the past few days has been apparent. As business leaders fled White House advisory panels over Trump’s Charlottesville response, Trump responded by abruptly announcing on Twitter that the jobs panels would be disbanded. This came only after he personally attacked the first CEO to quit his manufacturing council, and threatened that he could easily replace any other CEOs who quit the panels.

He also has lashed out at his critics in the Republican Party, aiming angry tweets at Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Thursday morning.

Trump’s outburst and resulting press conference blaming both the “alt-right” and that he called the “alt-left” for the violence in Charlottesville has left his newly-minted chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, “dismayed,” the Washington Post reported. Trump’s Tuesday press conference and frustration with his aides’ opinions on how he should respond to the Charlottesville attack has left him “further isolated,” according to the newspaper.

While the President defiantly stews in his own anger, his staff has become increasingly wary of remaining in the administration, though most have come to the conclusion that now is not the time to leave, according to the Washington Post and CNN.

Gary Cohn, the top economic advisor to Trump, who is Jewish, was very upset with Trump’s comments on the attack, but he has not threatened to resign, the Post reported, citing unnamed people close to Cohn.

CNN reported that White House aides have been sorting through whether to leave Trump’s administration, but that most had decided that leaving now would only hurt them.

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John Dowd, one of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers, on Wednesday forwarded an email to several journalists and government officials that argues there is “no difference” between George Washington and Robert E. Lee, according to the New York Times.

Dowd received the email with the subject line “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” on Tuesday night and forwarded it to several people on Wednesday in an apparent attempt to defend Trump’s comments about the attack, the New York Times reported.

“You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there literally is no difference between the two men,” the email forwarded by Dowd reads, per the Times.”

The email also notes that both Washington and Lee owned slaves and argues that both “rebelled against the ruling government.” The email was penned by Jerome Almon, who pushes government conspiracy theories and claims that Islamic terrorists have infiltrated the FBI, according to the Times.

Asked about the email he allegedly forwarded, Down told the Times that he often forwards along emails he receives.

“You’re sticking your nose in my personal email?” he told the Times. “People send me things. I forward them.”

Read the New York Times’ full report here.

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White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has largely been laying low, but he came out of the woodwork on Tuesday with a phone call to American Prospect editor Robert Kuttner to discuss China policy and the white nationalists President Donald Trump failed to fully condemn in the wake of the Charlottesville attack.

While discussing Bannon’s plan to carry out an “economic nationalism” policy program, Kuttner asked how economic nationalism ties into the recent violence in Charlottesville from white nationalists.

Bannon dismissed the racist and white supremacist vein in the conservative movement.

“Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more,” Bannon told the American Prospect. “These guys are a collection of clowns.”

The White House aide said that Democrats’ messaging around race will only help his agenda and the Republican Party.

“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em I want them to talk about racism every day,” Bannon told the American Prospect. “If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

During the phone call, which was initiated by Bannon, he largely discussed policy toward China and North Korea. He said that the U.S. is in an “economic war” with China and dismissed the possibility of a military solution to North Korea’s threats. Bannon also said he has plans to replace officials in the State Department and Defense Department who disagree with him on policy toward China and North Korea.

It’s not entirely clear whether Bannon intended to have an on-the-record conversation with the American Prospect. According to Kuttner, the two never discussed the phone call being off the record. Axios reported that Bannon told associates that he did not intend to give an interview to the American Prospect.

Bannon told the Daily Mail later Thursday morning that his conversation with the American Prospect served a purpose: He said that it “drew fire away from POTUS” and argued that it “changed the [media] narrative” in the wake of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville attack.

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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.

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.

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.

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During a series of three town halls across Colorado on Tuesday, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) faced loud, rowdy crowds of constituents pressing him on his stance on Senate Republicans’ Obamacare repeal efforts.

At his first town hall of the day in Colorado Springs, Gardner was met with hundreds of upset constituents and a shout from an audience member of, “Senator, you suck,” according to Colorado Public Radio.

Gardner remained relatively quiet on Obamacare repeal throughout the Senate’s arduous attempts to drag it across the finish line. But he stuck with GOP leadership and voted to repeal the law, disappointing some of his constituents. It was the main issue Gardner faced questions about over the course of three events in Greeley, Lakewood and Colorado Springs.

At an event in Greeley, one member of the crowd complained about the secretive process senators used to draft the bill.

“This was so partisan, what you came up with,” Greeley resident Scott McClean said, according to Colorado Public Radio.

“I hope that we’ll have everybody at the table going forward,” Gardner responded, which prompted jeers from the crowd, as quoted by Colorado Public Radio.

“What happens when this spending continues going up and we have no way to pay for it?” the senator added over the loud audience.

At an event in Lakewood, one crowd member accused Gardner of breaking his promise to protect Americans’ health care coverage.

“We asked you to stand your ground and vote for those principles, and you did not,” Erin Egan told the senator, according to Politico. “You only want to cut off people who need it.”

Gardner told the crowd that the system needs “reforms” and that Medicaid needs to be put on a more “sustainable” path, per Politico.

He also faced some anger from supporters who complained that Republicans had not successfully repealed and replaced Obamacare.

“When I voted for you, you said you would repeal and replace,” one constituent complained to Gardner in Lakewood, according to Politico.

The senator also addressed the violence over the weekend in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump’s failure to immediately condemn white supremacists in its wake.

“I think it’s about time asses with Nazi flags go back to their hole,” the senator said at his event in Colorado Springs, according to the Denver Post.

In Lakewood, Gardner said that Trump was “wrong” to backslide in his Tuesday press conference and place blame on liberals for the attack.

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