NEW YORK — With corporate chieftains fleeing, US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is ending a pair of advisory business councils in the latest fallout over his remarks about the Charlottesville protests.
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Trump tweeted in a face-saving effort from his home at Trump Tower. He was to depart New York later Wednesday to return to his New Jersey golf club.
CEOs began announcing their resignations after Trump’s first comments about the violence Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and counter-protesters. The resignations accelerated after he re-emphasized his earlier remarks and on Tuesday blamed “both sides” for the series of events that led to the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman.
Standing in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday, Trump acknowledged that there were “some very bad people” among those who gathered to protest Saturday. But he added: “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”
Trump’s remarks were widely criticized in Washington and around the country.
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
Prior to Trump’s tweet, a number of other CEOs had announced their resignation Wednesday from Trump’s business advisory panels, including Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison.
“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,” she said in a statement.
The chief executive of 3M also resigned from the president’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative panel, saying it is no longer an effective forum for the company to advance its goals.
In a statement, Inge Thulin said: “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.”
Morrison and Thulin’s resignations followed those of the heads of Merck pharmaceuticals, Under Armour, Intel and the head of the AFL-CIO trade union.
Trump had initially blown off the first round of resignations, calling the CEOs “grandstanders” and said he had many people who could replace them.
For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2017
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.