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Trump says ending business councils was his idea after CEOs quit

by Gabrielle Bluestone
Aug 16 2017, 1:35pm

It seems “all the best people” no longer want to work with Donald Trump. After several CEOs stepped down from the president’s manufacturing council, and the remaining council members said they would step down, in the wake of his explosive defense of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, Trump announced on Twitter that he would end the group — along with a presidential business council whose members also threatened to quit.

Campbell CEO Denise Morrison and 3M CEO Inge Thulin became the seventh and eighth people to depart Trump’s manufacturing jobs initiative this week after the president spoke of “very fine” white supremacists and blamed the “alt-left” for the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead and at least 19 injured.

And according to Axios, a separate group of CEOs who sit on a presidential business advisory council led by Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman also decided to disband Wednesday over Trump’s comments at a Tuesday press conference in New York.

“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,” Morrison said in a statement. “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.”

Thulin did not specifically cite Trump’s rhetoric, saying only that the council was “no longer an effective vehicle.”

Morrison and Thulin join leaders from AFL-CIO, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Arconic, Ford, Intel, Merck, Tesla, Under Armour, and U.S. Steel in departing the council.

CNN polled the remaining 15 members, who either declined to comment or indicated they intend to remain in their positions. Among the companies who indicated to the news outlet that they plan on staying are Dow Chemical, Nuco, Whirlpool, International Paper, Campbell Soup, Boeing, and Newell Brands.

But their loyalty was not rewarded. Trump — who just a day before had bragged on Twitter that, “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” — appears to be quitting while he’s behind.

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