Update, 8/16/17: President Trump disbanded both his manufacturing council and his Strategy and Policy Forum in a tweet Wednesday morning. Several more CEOs left the council before and after. The updated story is below.
At a White House event on Monday, President Trump explicitly condemned white supremacists and neo-Nazis after facing increasing pressure to rebuke the hate groups responsible for the outbreak of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
Earlier in the day, Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of the country’s third-largest pharmaceutical company, Merck, resigned from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council. Frazier opposed the president’s original statement from Saturday that blamed “many sides” for the violence that left three people dead, including one counter-protester who was run over when a car driven by a white nationalist plowed into a crowd.
“As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism,” Frazier said in a tweet.
Trump immediately fired back at Frazier on Twitter.
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
Frazier is not the first CEO to step down from a Trump presidential advisory council. Other CEOs include Travis Kalanick, formerly of Uber, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Walt Disney’s Robert Iger. Musk also departed from the manufacturing council. Late on Monday, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich both announced that they will be leaving the president's manufacturing council.
Following those events, Scott Paul, president of Alliance for American Manufacturing, announced his resignation from the council Tuesday morning.
In the afternoon, Trump held a press conference on his administration's infrastructure plan. The event quickly turned back to the violence in Charlottesville.
"There's blame on both sides. You look at both sides. I think there's blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it," Trump told reporters.
Following the press conference, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka tweeted his resignation from Trump's manufacturing council, and more followed Wednesday. Trump disbanded both CEO council's later that day.
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
Marketplace reached out to CEOs and companies on Trump’s manufacturing council for comment. Below are their responses. We will update this post if we get additional comments.
|Joining a presidential council gets you access. Quitting it risks public shaming.|
|Merck executive resigns from president's council, and Trump lashes out|
|After Charlottesville, future of funding to counter homegrown extremism worries experts|
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky:
"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."
Updated statement from 15 minutes after Trump's tweet dissolving the council, 8/16/17: "Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to remain engaged as important policy decisions are made. That hasn't changed. The President’s most recent statements equating those who are motivated by race-based hate with those who stand up against hatred is unacceptable and has changed our decision to participate in the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council. We will continue to support, advocate and champion policies and programs that make this country and the world healthier, stronger and more united."
United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes:
“Earlier this year I was asked to participate in the American Manufacturing Council that was established by the new administration. This council, which is made up of more than 20 CEO’s of leading American manufacturers, was tasked with developing policies to revitalize the American manufacturing sector. The administration has other councils focused on other policy areas, such as developing a competitive income tax code and streamlining burdensome regulation. UTC strongly supports the goals of each of these advisory committees as a way of ensuring and enhancing America’s growth in the decades to come. However, as events of the last week have unfolded here in the U.S., it is clear that we need to collectively stand together and denounce the politics of hate, intolerance and racism. The values that are the cornerstone of our culture: tolerance, diversity, empathy and trust, must be reaffirmed by our actions every day. Accordingly, I have tendered my resignation from the Council effective today.”
Corning CEO Wendell Weeks:
"As many of you are aware, I have served as an advisor to the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative since January. Corning was asked to participate on this council to offer our deep expertise in innovation and manufacturing and advise the government on how to create jobs and strengthen the innovation and manufacturing sectors. I want to underscore that Corning’s participation was not a political statement, nor an endorsement of the Administration’s policies or positions, but instead part of our commitment to innovation, manufacturing leadership, and job creation. I believe we come up with more effective solutions when government and industry work together, and that Corning can make a positive difference by participating in the dialogue. However, the events of the last few days have transformed the council’s laudable mission of job creation into a perception of political support for the Administration and its statements. This runs counter to my original intention and is inconsistent with Corning’s Values. As a result I have made the decision to step down from the council."
Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul:
"I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do."
I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do.
— Scott Paul (@ScottPaulAAM) August 15, 2017
Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier:
"I am resigning from the President's American Manufacturing Council. Our country's strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs. 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. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich:
"Earlier today, I tendered my resignation from the American Manufacturing Council. 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."
Under Armour CEO KEVIN PLANK:
"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. We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing. However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics. I am appreciative of the opportunity to have served, but have decided to step down from the council. I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion."
3M President, CEO and Chairman Inge Thulin stepped down from the council with a tweet Wednesday morning.
"I joined the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative in January to advocate for policies that align with our values and encourage even stronger investment and job growth — in order to make the United States stronger, healthier and more prosperous for all people," Thulin said in a statement. "After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals."
— 3M (@3M) August 16, 2017
"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."
"We don't have a comment."
“GE has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism, and we strongly condemn the violent extremism in Charlottesville over the weekend. 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 U.S., therefore, Jeff Immelt will remain on the Presidential Committee on American Manufacturing while he is the Chairman of GE.”
Updated statement from GE Chairman Jeff Immelt, 8/16/17: "The President’s statements yesterday were deeply troubling. There would be no GE without people of all races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations. GE has no tolerance for hate, bigotry, racism, and the white supremacist extremism that the country witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend. I joined the President’s Committee on Manufacturing because engagement with government on economic policy is very important for GE, our employees, and partners. As a company that exports over $20 billion of American made goods to the world, I believe we are best served when we constructively engage with leaders in the United States and around the world. The Committee I joined had the intention to foster policies that promote American manufacturing and growth. However, given the ongoing tone of the discussion, I no longer feel that this Council can accomplish these goals. Therefore, I notified members of the council this morning that I could no longer serve on the President’s Committee on American Manufacturing."
“Whirlpool Corp. believes strongly in an open and inclusive culture that respects people of all races and backgrounds. 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 U.S. workers, and to provide input and advice on ways to create jobs and strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.”
Dow Chemical Company Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris:
“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. 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.”
“The reprehensible scenes of bigotry and hatred on display in Charlottesville over the weekend have no place in our society. 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.”
Updated statement from Morrison, 8/16/17: "Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville. I believe the President should have been — and still needs to be — unambiguous on that point. Following yesterdays remakes from the President, I cannot remain on the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. I will continue to support all efforts to spur economic growth and advocate for the values that have always made America Great"
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:
"The AFL-CIO has unequivocally denounced the actions of bigoted domestic terrorists in Charlottesville and called on the President to do the same. We are aware of the decisions by other members of the President's Manufacturing Council, which has yet to hold any real meeting, and are assessing our role. While the AFL-CIO will remain a powerful voice for the freedoms of working people, there are real questions into the effectiveness of this council to deliver real policy that lifts working families."
Updated statement from Trumka, 8/15/17: "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.
It’s clear that President Trump’s Manufacturing Council was never an effective means for delivering real policy that lifts working families and his remarks today were the last straw. We joined this council with the intent to be a voice for working people and real hope that it would result in positive economic policy, but it has become yet another broken promise on the President’s record. From hollow councils to bad policy and embracing bigotry, the actions of this administration have are consistently failed working people."
"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. 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."
“At Nucor, we condemn the violence that occurred this past weekend in Charlottesville and reject the hate, bigotry, and racism expressed at the demonstration. As North America's largest steel producer, Nucor has engaged with several administrations to work on policies that help strengthen the U.S. manufacturing sector and provide opportunities for American workers. We believe a strong manufacturing sector is the backbone of a strong economy, and we will continue to serve as a member of the White House Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.”
Newell Brands CEO Michael Polk:
“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. 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 U.S.”
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.”