Business Leaders Resign From Trump’s Manufacturing Council Amid Backlash After His Charlottesville Response

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Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, on Tuesday morning became the fourth person to resign from President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council in the last two days.

Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier, the only African-American business leader on the council, announced Monday on Merck's Twitter account that he was resigning from the initiative. He appeared to criticize the president for not explicitly condemning and disavowing white supremacists in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend.

Trump received backlash over the weekend after his initial response condemning violence in Charlottesville seemed to reference fault on "many sides." Many lawmakers and reporters thought Trump did not go far enough in condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis. While Trump's condemnation of racism and white supremacy was stronger on Monday morning, the backlash was still strong from his initial response.

"America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry, and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal," Frazier said Monday in a statement. "As CEO of Merck, and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."

Trump responded to his resignation by tweeting that Frazier "will [now] have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

Later in the evening, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich both announced their resignations from the council through statements on Twitter.

"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," Krzanich said. "Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base."

"I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them," Krzanich added. "We should honor—not attack—those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does."

Trump tweeted again on Tuesday morning and said the business leaders who resigned were "grandstanders."

Sixteen minutes after Trump tweeted, Paul announced that he was resigning from the council because "it's the right thing for me to do."

Cameron Cawthorne

Cameron Cawthorne   Email Cameron | Full Bio | RSS
Cameron Cawthorne is a Media Analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013. Prior to joining Free Beacon, Cameron was a Legislative Assistant in the Virginia General Assembly and a War Room Analyst at America Rising.

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