President Trump announced on Wednesday that he is disbanding both the Manufacturing Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum:
Trump made the announcement shortly after business leaders left in response to his statements on a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Following public pressure to do so, even by members of his own party, the president denounced the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists by name two days after the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer. During a Wednesday press conference, Trump reverted to his initial vague statement and suggested that there were some “good people” that marched alongside the white nationalists.
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier was the first to leave the Manufacturing Council when the president did not immediately choose to denounce the hate groups by name.
“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expression of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy … I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and racism,” he wrote, feeling the sting of Trump’s silence as both an American and a black man.
Trump responded to the news of Frazier’s exit with the following tweet:
Over the course of a few days, other business leaders stated their intentions to leave the council as well.
Trump then said that he had “many to take their place:”
Rare has provided an in-depth look at the business leaders who have left the Manufacturing Council over disagreements with the president’s response to Charlottesville. The list also follows the business leaders who left the council in June over the Paris Climate Agreement, including Tesla’s Elon Musk.