Fourth, fifth business leaders quit Trump councils
Another member of President Donald Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative council resigned Tuesday evening. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he could no longer remain on the council.
“I cannot sit on a council for a President that tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism; I resign, effective immediately,” Trumka said on Twitter.
Earlier Tuesday, Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing said in a tweet, “I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do.”
The latest resignations bring to five the number of business and labor leaders who have quit presidential councils since Trump came under fire for taking two days to specifically denounce the actions of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Merck CEO Ken Frazier was the first to step down Monday. In less than an hour, the president attacked the African-American executive on Twitter, calling Merck “a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”
By the end of Monday, Under Armour founder and chief executive Kevin Plank and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich had resigned.
However, leaders of Michigan-based companies have no plans to quit.
Dow Chemical Co. said Tuesday that CEO Andrew Liveris will remain on the president’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative council, which Liveris helped organize. Whirlpool Corp. Chairman Jeff Fettig also will remain.
General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra’s is a member of a separate Trump business advisory group, the Strategic and Policy Forum. Her participation in that forum will not change, a company spokesman said Tuesday.
Late Tuesday morning, Trump lashed out at the defections on Twitter, saying: “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!”
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon at Trump Tower, the president ripped into the business leaders, saying, “They’re not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country.”
The president denied that his original statement about the violence in Virginia on Saturday was the cause of the departures. “Some of the folks that will leave, they’re leaving out of embarrassment because they make their products outside” the United States, he said.
Ford Motor Co. originally had a representative on the manufacturing council. But when Ford CEO and President Mark Fields was replaced in May, the automaker lost its seat. The company has said it would be a White House decision whether Ford would be allowed a new representative.
Dow’s Liveris said Tuesday in an emailed statement: “I condemn the violence this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, and my thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and with the people of Virginia. In Dow there is no room for hatred, racism or bigotry. Dow will continue to work to strengthen the social and economic fabric of the communities where it operates – including supporting policies that help create employment opportunities in manufacturing and rebuild the American workforce.”
Whirlpool’s statement said Fettig would not step down, but the company condemned the actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville.
“Whirlpool Corp. believes strongly in an open and inclusive culture that respects people of all races and backgrounds,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Our company has long fostered an environment of acceptance and tolerance in the workplace. The company will continue on the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative to represent our industry, our 15,000 U.S. workers, and to provide input and advice on ways to create jobs and strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.”
This week’s defections were not the first.
Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk, a member of both advisory groups, earlier resigned in protest after the president said he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief, stepped down from the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum for the same reason.
Travis Kalanick, the head of Uber at the time, quit the Strategic and Policy Forum because of the administration’s immigration policies.