Members of a Department of Commerce committee called the Digital Economy Board of Advisors have turned in their resignations after President Trump’s defense of white supremacists in Charlottesville.
Zoë Baird, a founding co-chair of the board and the president and CEO of the Markle Foundation, confirmed that she had submitted her resignation on Thursday in a phone call with VICE News, and that other members had as well. The president said in off-the-cuff remarks Tuesday that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the violent demonstration in the Virginia college town last weekend.
“It is the moral responsibility of our leaders to unite Americans by respecting the diversity and inclusion that enables our country to generate new opportunity and celebrate freedom,” Baird’s resignation letter reads. “In order to preserve these cherished values, there must never be equivocation in denouncing hate, bigotry, violence, and racism.”
Mitchell Baker, the Board’s other founding co-chair and the executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, has also resigned according to a letter obtained by VICE News.
Formed in 2016 under the Obama administration under Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the committee’s aim is to “provide recommendations on ways to advance economic growth and opportunity in the digital age.”
This is the third executive-branch advisory council of business and civic leaders to see a flood of resignations this week, following the collapse of the Strategic and Policy Forum and the American Manufacturing Council. Notably, the American Technology Council, packed with Silicon Valley execs, still remains intact — for now.
A spokesperson for the Department of Commerce did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here’s the full text of Baird’s resignation:
Dear Secretary Ross: