President Donald Trump pulled a fast one on business leaders on Wednesday—firing those who were too slow to quit two of his White House business councils after the president's views on a white supremacy rally in Charlottesville became clear.
Following a fast-growing exodus of business leaders who were members of the councils, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he would disband both committees—while many in Washington argued that more Republicans including the president's advisors and aides should distance themselves from the White House.
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
Seven CEOs left the president's manufacturing council over the past two days, following the president's failure to clearly denounce the white supremacists who gathered at a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. The CEO of Walmart, another member, also sent a letter to all Walmart employees criticizing Trump.
As the list of resignations grew, Trump insisted he wasn't alarmed by the statements of the defectors, some of whom expressed their need to leave because they couldn't back a president who "supports bigotry and terrorism."
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
The president announced he would dissolve the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and the Strategy and Policy Forum just after it was reported that the latter was planning to disband itself. The manufacturing council was also expected to meet later on Wednesday to discuss its plans to proceed amid the tension caused by the president's press conference the day before, in which he insisted there were "very fine people" who attended the white supremacist gatherings last Friday and Saturday.
For those who didn't quit or speak out, the moment to put themselves on the record has now passed.
As a circulating petition urging CEOs to ditch the manufacturing council argued, "There is no neutral. Either CEO advisors must step off of Trump's committee, or they are complicit in the violence his administration is creating."
As news spread that the president's business advisors would be cutting ties with him, few in the news media seemed surprised—but some expressed alarm and anger that more of his allies have not abandoned Trump in the wake of his recent comments.
Until Republicans declare Trump unacceptable, they enable and empower him.— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) August 15, 2017
.@NicolleDWallace on WH staff to MSNBC: "If they don't resign en masse this morning, they're forever tainted w/ the stench of what he did."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 16, 2017
Trump aides: History is pounding its knuckles on the White House door and shouting that it's time to leave.— tad friend (@tadfriend) August 16, 2017