President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he was ending the White House's American Manufacturing Council and the separate Strategic and Policy forum in the wake of a rush of CEO resignations.
The strategy forum had reportedly already disbanded and planned to tell Trump before making it public.
Trump framed the announcement as a favor to the business leaders of both groups, saying he did not want to put "pressure on the businesspeople."
"Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" Trump tweeted.
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
The New York Times reports:
The quick sequence began late Wednesday morning when Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group and one of Mr. Trump's closest confidants in the business community, organized a conference call for members of the president's Strategic and Policy Forum.
On the call, the chief executives of some of the largest companies in the country debated how to proceed.
After a discussion among a dozen prominent C.E.O.s, the decision was made to abandon the group altogether, said people with knowledge of details of the call.
The council included Laurence D. Fink of BlackRock, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Rich Lesser of the Boston Consulting Group and Toby Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic, among others.
One member told CNBC that they wanted to disband the strategic council to make a larger impact than just individuals stepping down like in the case of Trump's manufacturing council.
"The thinking was it was important to do as a group," the member said. "As a panel, not as individuals because it would have more significant impact. It makes a central point that it's not going to go forward. It's done."
Trump's manufacturing advisory council was already in trouble following 3M CEO Inge Thulin's departure—the seventh one to leave the presidential council following the Charlottesville events, according to CNBC.
"After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals [investment and job growth]," Thulin said. "As a result, today I am resigning from the Manufacturing Advisory Council."
Merck's Kenneth Frazier left the manufacturing council Monday, saying that he wanted to take a stand against extremism.
"As C.E.O. of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against extremism," Frazier said.
Afterward, Trump accused Frazier of wanting to rip off customers.
Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017