Six business executives have quit President Trump’s council on manufacturing jobs since the violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia — a sign of escalating fallout from his insistence that both sides are to blame.
The latest were two representatives from the AFL-CIO: Richard Trumka, its president, and Thea Lee, an economist. They walked away from Trump after a staggering press conference Tuesday in which he said that “very fine people” were mixed in with neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.
“I cannot sit on a council for a President that tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism,” Trumka said.
Seventeen other members of the council either have told CNNMoney that they will stay or have not answered a request for comment. Trump set up the council in January to hear their advice on revitalizing American manufacturing, a focus of his campaign.
Among those who have said they will stay on, some have argued that it is valuable to have a seat at the table as the government shapes policy that could affect their companies and employees.
In that group are top talent from GE(, )Dow Chemical(, )Nucor(, )Whirlpool(, )International Paper(, )Campbell Soup(, Dell, )Boeing( and )Newell Brands(. )
Several other members have yet to weigh in. The heads of Johnson & Johnson(, )United Technologies(, )Dana(, )Timken(, )3M( and )Corning( have not responded to questions about their roles. )Lockheed Martin( and Harris Corporation declined to comment. )
It’s unclear whether two others, Arconic and Caterpillar(, are still in the mix. Both their CEOs left earlier this year, and the companies have not told CNNMoney whether they kept representation on the panel. When the heads of )U.S. Steel( and )Ford( left their roles earlier this year, those companies ceased membership. )
The flurry of resignations began Monday after Merck( CEO Kenneth Frazier abruptly quit the council and said that “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.” )
Trump fired back an hour after Frazier’s announcement. He tweeted that the Merck CEO “will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
Frazier was soon followed out the door by executives from Under Armour(, )Intel(Tech30), the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the two executives from the AFL-CIO. ,