President Donald Trump's manufacturing council of business leaders lost three of its members Monday, and two more on Tuesday, amid fallout from his handling of the white-supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, the only black business leader in the group, was first to resign after Trump initially failed to explicitly denounce white nationalists.
By the time Trump did so in a televised address on Monday, Frazier was the only one to have stepped down from the council because of the weekend's events.
Later Monday, however, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank joined Frazier in leaving the council. The sporting-goods CEO said he decided to do so because his company "engages in innovation and sports, not politics."
That same night, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich released a statement saying he too was stepping down from the council.
"Earlier today, I tendered my resignation from the American Manufacturing Council," Krzanich wrote. "I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing. Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America's manufacturing base."
Trump responded Tuesday to the three departures with a tweet, saying that he has other leaders to take their spots on the council.
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) August 15, 2017
Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, tweeted shortly after Trump's statement that he will be the fourth executive to leave the council.
"I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do," Paul tweeted late Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday evening, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka also announced he was leaving the council after Trump defended his original statement on the violence in Charlottesville, blaming both sides. "We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism," the organization said in a statement. "President Trump's remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups."
Business Insider has contacted the representatives of the original council members to ask for a statement on Frazier's departure and whether they still planned to participate. The departures are highlighted in red, including Elon Musk who had already left in protest over the White House's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord:
- Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical Company, will remain on the council. "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," Liveris said in an emailed statement. "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."
- Bill Brown, Harris Corporation, did not respond to a request for comment.
- Michael Dell, Dell Technologies, will remain on the council. "While we wouldn't comment on any member's personal decision, there's no change in Dell engaging with the Trump administration and governments around the world to share our perspective on policy issues that affect our company, customers, and employees," a spokeswoman said.
- John Ferriola, Nucor Corporation, did not respond to a request for comment.
- Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool Corporation, will remain on the council. "Whirlpool Corp. believes strongly in an open and inclusive culture that respects people of all races and backgrounds," the company said in a 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 US manufacturing workers, and to provide input and advice on ways to create jobs and strengthen US manufacturing competitiveness."
- Ken Frazier, Merck, left the council. "As CEO of Merck, and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism," he said in a statement.
- Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson, will remain on the council. "At Johnson & Johnson we are deeply saddened by the horrific events that occurred in Charlottesville this past weekend. Intolerance, racism, and violence have no place in our society," Gorsky said in an emailed statement. "Several members have made the decision to leave President Trump’s White House Manufacturing Advisory Council, and I respect their decision as a matter of personal conscience. Given the events of the past few days, I can understand the concerns—even the fear—that some people have expressed. These are difficult days for everyone. In the end, I have concluded that Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to remain engaged, not as a way to support any specific political agenda, but as a way to represent the values of Our Credo as crucial public policy is discussed and developed."
- Greg Hayes, United Technologies Corp., did not respond to a request for comment.
- Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin, declined to comment.
- Jeff Immelt, General Electric, will remain on the council. "GE has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism, and we strongly condemn the violent extremism in Charlottesville over the weekend," a GE representative said in a statement. "GE is a proudly inclusive company with employees who represent all religions, nationalities, sexual orientations, and races. With more than 100,000 employees in the United States, it is important for GE to participate in the discussion on how to drive growth and productivity in the US, therefore, Jeff Immelt will remain on the Presidential Committee on American Manufacturing while he is the chairman of GE."
- Jim Kamsickas, Dana Inc., did not respond to a request for comment.
- Brian Krzanich, Intel, announced Monday night he would step down from the council: "I am not a politician," Krzanich said in a statement. "I am an engineer who has spent most of his career working in factories that manufacture the world’s most advanced devices. Yet, it is clear even to me that nearly every issue is now politicized to the point where significant progress is impossible. Promoting American manufacturing should not be a political issue."
- Rich Kyle, The Timken Company, did not respond to a request for comment.
- Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO, left the council on Tuesday after Trump made additional remarks about Charlottesville. "We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism. President Trump's remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups."
- Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company, will remain on the council. "The reprehensible scenes of bigotry and hatred on display in Charlottesville over the weekend have no place in our society," a company representative said. "Not simply because of the violence, but because the racist ideology at the center of the protests is wrong and must be condemned in no uncertain terms. Campbell has long held the belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to the success of our business and our culture. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering, and we will remain active champions for these efforts. We believe it continues to be important for Campbell to have a voice and provide input on matters that will affect our industry, our company and our employees in support of growth. Therefore, Ms. Morrison will remain on the President's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative."
- Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing, will remain on the council.
- Elon Musk, Tesla, left the council in June after Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement on climate change. He tweeted at the time: "Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world."
- Doug Oberhelman, formerly Caterpillar, Oberhelman retired at the start of 2017, Caterpillar did not respond when asked if they had any current employee serving on the council.
- Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing, announced Tuesday that he would step down from the council: "I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do," Paul tweeted.
- Kevin Plank, Under Armour, announced Monday night he would step down from the council: "I joined the American Manufacturing Council because I believed it was important for Under Armour to have an active seat at the table and represent our industry," Plank said in a statement. "We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing. However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics."
- Michael Polk, Newell Brands, will remain on the council: "With a large portion of our business in the U.S., including a manufacturing footprint of more than 60 factories and 15,000 employees (and counting), it is in our best interests to have a voice in the conversations that can influence the environment in which we work," said Polk in a statement. "I plan to continue to collaborate with other leaders from diverse industries, who represent a variety of perspectives and beliefs, to help shape strategies and develop policies that foster a more vibrant economy and more jobs in the US."
Polk also provided Business Insider with a statement regarding Charlottesville: "We find the events of this past weekend in Charlottesville to be incredibly troubling. There is simply no place in our society for racism of any kind, white supremacy, or Neo-Nazism. The values that form these views are intolerable and completely contrary to everything we hold true as proud Americans. We reject and condemn all that hate stands for and hope that as a society, we can come together as one in this view. For its part, Newell Brands has always been and will always be committed to diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our business."
- Mark Sutton, International Paper, will remain on the council. "International Paper strongly condemns the violence that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend — there is no place for hatred, bigotry, and racism in our society," an International Paper representative said. "We are a company that fosters an inclusive workforce where all employees are valued and treated with dignity and respect. Through our participation on the Manufacturing Jobs Council, we will work to strengthen the social and economic fabric of communities across the country by creating employment opportunities in manufacturing."
- Inge Thulin, 3M, did not respond to a request for comment.
- Wendell Weeks, Corning, did not respond to a request for comment.
Steve Schwarzman, the CEO of the private-equity giant Blackstone and the leader of Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum — another group of executives from companies such as JPMorgan, PepsiCo, and Walmart — also condemned the events in Charlottesville and said he would remain as head of the forum.
"Bigotry, hatred, and extremism are an affront to core American values and have no place in this country," Schwarzman said in a statement. "I am deeply saddened and troubled by the tragic events in Charlottesville. My heartfelt condolences go out to the victims and their families. As the president said today, I believe we need to find a path to heal the wounds left by this tragedy and address its underlying causes. Encouraging tolerance and understanding must be a core national imperative, and I will work to further that goal."
The following CEO's have also left the council because they are no longer in their jobs:
- Mark Fields, formerly Ford Motor Company, stepped away from the council after leaving Ford in May. Ford told Business Insider the company no longer had a representative on the manufacturing council.
- Klaus Kleinfeld, formerly CEO of Arconic, left the company in April. It no longer has a representative on the council.
- Mario Longhi, formerly US Steel, stepped away from the council after retiring on June 30.
- Thea Lee, formerly AFL-CIO, departed as the group's deputy chief of staff. Politico reported Tuesday that she had left the council.
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