Trump axes key business councils after CEOs drop out
US President Donald Trump has disbanded two of his key business advisory councils after a plethora of CEOs quit in response to his stance on events following clashes in Charlottesville sparked by white supremacist groups.
The Manufacturing Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum will be no more following the exodus of executives, after Trump was roundly criticised for failing to condemn the far-right groups and equating them to human rights protesters.
One woman was killed on Saturday when a car smashed its way through a crowd of protesters in the Virginia town, but in a fiery press conference on Tuesday Trump said there were some "very fine people on both sides" of the violence.
The President announced the disbanding of the forum on Wednesday via Twitter.
"Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both," Trump wrote on the social media site. "Thank you all!"
Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
3M chief executive Inge Thulin was the latest business executive to drop off the Manufacturing Council, after the CEOS of companies such as Merck and Intel had also departed in the wake of the Charlottesville comments.
Merck boss Kenneth Frazier said earlier this week his exit was ‘a matter of personal conscience’ and that he had to ‘take a stand against extremism’.
JPMorgan Chase head Jamie Dimon also released a statement on Wednesday urging for an end to divisiveness in the US, but did not condemn Trump explicitly.
“Constructive economic and regulatory policies are not enough and will not matter if we do not address the divisions in our country. It is a leader's role, in business or government, to bring people together, not tear them apart,” Dimon said.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook belatedly made a statement that he did not agree there was a "moral equivalence" between white supremacists and "those who oppose them".