After the firestorm over the weekend’s violence in Virginia prompted several leaders of companies and manufacturing groups to resign from White House panels early this week, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he would disband them entirely.
The decision came amid a growing number of resignations -- and increasing pressure on remaining members -- after Trump once again appeared to equate the actions of white nationalist protesters with counter-protesters who gathered to oppose them in Charlottesville, Va.
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich left the American Manufacturing Council on Monday after Trump's initial criticism of violence "on many sides."
Although Trump said in a statement on Monday that racist violence was “repugnant to everything we hold dear,” American Alliance for Manufacturing President Scott Paul resigned from the panel the following day, and AFL-CIO leaders Richard Trumka and Thea Lee followed suit after Trump reverted to his original comments in a bizarre Tuesday press conference.
Executives from 3M and Campbell Soup Co. quit on Wednesday, and Trump announced the end of both councils shortly thereafter.
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both,” Trump wrote on Twitter.