Among those who've left are the chief executives for Merck, Under Armour and Intel and the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing
In this Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump (L) speaks during a meeting with manufacturing executives at the White House in Washington, including Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier (C) and Ford CEO Mark Fields, Photo: AP/Evan Vucci, File
15 of August 2017 16:45:01
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday ripped into the four business leaders who resigned from his White House jobs panel — the latest sign that corporate U.S.'s romance with Trump is faltering — after his equivocal response to violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia."They're not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country," the president said at an impromptu news conference at Trump Tower in New York City.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.
Trump also assailed the CEOs who left on Twitter as "grandstanders" and said he had plenty of executives available to take their place. The president added that he believes economic growth in the U.S. will heal its racial divide.But the parade of departing leaders from the informal panel seems closely linked to how the president responded to events that led to the death of a counter-protester that opposed the white supremacists.Among those who've left are the chief executives for Merck, Under Armour and Intel and the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.Alliance president Scott Paul, in a tweet, said simply, "I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do." Within minutes of the tweet on Tuesday, calls to Paul's phone were being sent to voicemail.
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) 15 de agosto de 2017
Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon joined the chorus, saying in a note Monday to employees, "[We] too felt that he missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together by unequivocally rejecting the appalling actions of white supremacists."But McMillon, whose business has customers on all sides of the political spectrum, plans to stay on a separate Trump advisory panel and said that the president's follow-up remarks on Monday that named white supremacists were a step in the right direction.Corporate leaders have been willing to work with Trump on taxes, trade and reducing regulations, but they've increasingly found themselves grappling with cultural and social tensions amid his lightning rod-style of leadership. The CEOs who left the council quickly faced his wrath, while those who have stayed have said it's important to speak with the president on economic issues.Like several other corporate leaders, Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, said that intolerance and racism have no place in U.S. society but that he intended to stay on the manufacturing council."We must engage if we hope to change the world and those who lead it," he said in a statement.A White House official downplayed the importance of the manufacturing council and a separate policy and strategy forum featuring corporate leaders. The official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations, said the panels were informal rather than a set body of advisers. The departures, the official said, were unlikely to hurt the administration's plans to overhaul taxes and regulations.Many corporate leaders have faced a lose-lose scenario in which any choice involving politics can alienate customers, not to mention a U.S. president who has shown a willingness to personally negotiate government contracts.Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, one of only four African-Americans leading a Fortune 500 company, was the first to tender his resignation Monday.He was assailed almost immediately by Trump on Twitter.
I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do.— Scott Paul (@ScottPaulAAM) 15 de agosto de 2017
JOSH BOAKMICHELLE CHAPMAN