Posted on August 15, 2017

Charlottesville Violence: Fourth Executive Exits Trump Council

BBC, August 15, 2017

Donald Trump Shrugs

Credit Image: © Ron Sachs/CNP via ZUMA Wire

A fourth executive has quit Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council amid criticism of the president’s response to a violent rally.

Alliance for American Manufacturing president Scott Paul said on Twitter he was stepping down “because it’s the right thing for me to do”.

He follows Intel’s Brian Krzanich, Under Armour head Kevin Plank and Merck’s Ken Frazier.

President Trump took another shot at the departing CEOs in a tweet.

“For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” He posted on Tuesday.

A woman died when a car rammed into protesters in Virginia on Saturday.

Mr Trump was widely rebuked for his initial response for not specifically denouncing the far right, instead ascribing blame to “many sides”.

Bowing to pressure, the president issued a statement on Monday calling the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists “repugnant” to everything Americans held dear.

“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs,” he told reporters.

Mr Plank sent out a tweet on Monday condemning racism.

“We are saddened by #Charlottesville. There is no place for racism or discrimination in this world. We choose love & unity.”

Ten hours later Mr Plank released another statement on Under Armour’s Twitter account announcing his resignation from the advisory body.

“I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion.”

Soon after, Mr Krzanich announced in a blog post on Intel’s website that he too was leaving the council “to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing”.

“Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”

In an earlier tweet, he had also said “there should be no hesitation in condemning hate speech or white supremacy by name”.

Both men in the past have expressed some admiration for Mr Trump.

Their resignations followed the departure of Ken Frazier, the head of drugs giant Merck, and one of only a handful of black leaders of Fortune 500 companies, on Monday morning.

Mr Frazier said: “I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

“America’s leaders must honour our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

In response, Mr Trump tweeted that Mr Frazier would now have “more time to lower rip off drug prices”.

In January, Mr Trump had called on pharmaceutical companies to cut “astronomical” drug prices.

Other company heads have previously stepped down from presidential advisory councils in protest at Mr Trump’s policies.

Former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick left the Business Advisory Council in February over the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk and Walt Disney’s chief executive Robert Iger left the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum in June, after Mr Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

Mr Musk also left the manufacturing council.