So much for Trump's negotiation skills and business savvy...
President Trump pulled the plug on two of his economic advisory councils this week after several CEOs quit in response to the “white nationalist” attack in Charlottesville.
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both,” tweeted Trump on Wednesday.
The Strategic and Policy Forum is an elite group of business leaders that was formed in 2016 with the purpose of advising the president on economic issues.
“As our members have expressed individually over the past several days, intolerance, racism, and violence have absolutely no place in this country and are an affront to core American values,” reads a statement released by the group. “We believe the debate over Forum participation has become a distraction from our well-intentioned and sincere desire to aid vital policy discussions on how to improve the lives of everyday Americans.”
This statement comes amid serious pressure from the Left to disavow Trump after he reiterated his response to the Charlottesville riot: that both sides were equally to blame.
The majority of the violence in Charlottesville occurred Friday night and Saturday morning. Between Monday and today, at least eight members of the Manufacturing Council had quit.
By Tuesday night, at least nine members of the Strategic and Policy Forum had dropped out. On Wednesday morning, chairman Steve Schwarzman told the White House that members of the forum had agreed to dissolve the group.
“Sustainability, diversity, and inclusion are my personal values,” said Inge Thulin (CEO 3M), former chairman of the Manufacturing Council. “The past few months have provided me with an opportunity to reflect upon my commitment to these values.”
Thulin was the first council member to resign on Wednesday.
“Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville,” said former chief executive Denise Morrison (CEO Campbell Soup), who resigned just minutes after Thulin. “I believe the President should be have been…unambiguous on that point.”
“Constructive economic and regulatory policies are not enough and will not matter if we do not address the divisions in our country,” said Strategic and Policy Forum chairman Jamie Dimon (CEO JPMorgan Chase).
These resignations are a serious blow to Trump, who came into office boasting of his close ties with corporate leaders.
According to DNC spokesman Daniel Wessel, the councils disbanded because of the President’s “failure to lead and the public pressure that followed.”
“For American businesses and CEOs, an association with Trump has become toxic for many reasons…Trump’s peddling of racist lies has been the final straw that has made the businessman president lose even the support of big business," says Wessel.
On Wednesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers announced they would be asking Congress to officially censure President Trump.