Following a wave of defections from high-profile CEOs, President Donald Trump on Wednesday was forced to disband two of his economic councils, several news outlets reported.
Eleven business leaders and CEOs have quit Trump’s councils in response to his controversial comments on race and white supremacy.
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Trump wrote in a tweet.
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
Trump’s decision to disband the councils is a surprising retreat for the combative president, who has touted his business acumen, negotiating skills and economic policy as central strengths.
But the controversy that plagues the president proved too much for some in business leadership, who have carefully cultivated images as socially-conscious leaders trying to make the world a better place through corporate positions.
On Monday and Tuesday, six business leaders resigned from his Manufacturing Advisory Council: Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth Frazier, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Under Armour’s Kevin Plank, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and economist Thea Lee, formerly of the AFL-CIO.
Trump’s Wednesday decision to disband the boards came shortly after two more CEO resignations by Inge Thulin, 3M’s chairman of the board, president and CEO, and Campbell’s CEO Denise Morrison.
“Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville,” Morrison said in a statement, an apparent allusion to Trump’s comment that “many sides” were responsible for the Charlottesville rally violence.
Twitter users were quick to respond to the erratic president:
THIS IS THE MOST PATHETIC THING I'VE EVER SEEN! pic.twitter.com/gPdMPclx1o
— Jules (@jules_su) August 16, 2017
The castle has begun to crumble. Everyone is running as fast as possible!!!
— Impeach Donald Trump (@Impeach_D_Trump) August 16, 2017
It's too late to play clean up 45, you have been exposed as the nation's alt-right white supremacist neo-nazi president. HEIL to the Chief!!
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) August 16, 2017
— Holly O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) August 16, 2017
People are bailing from your council because they want nothing to do with your racism and reason. Just admit it…
— Jail Donald Trump (@DTrumpExposed) August 16, 2017