Trump must have never anticipated that his “many sides” remarks on Charlottesville violence would blow back on him in a concrete way. Sure, he must have expected some political backlash for not blaming Nazis and white supremacists, but it’s getting ugly inside his American Manufacturing Council, where members continue to step away in disgust. The trend began on Monday when Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, the group’s only black member, publicly resigned while citing a need to “take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” Frazier was followed by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and as a result, Trump went into denial mode.
So, he tweeted that everything is just fine, okay? He has plenty of CEOs to fill these council spots, and “Grandstanders should not have gone on.” And for some inexplicable reason, he tweet-blurted, “JOBS!”
Well, this didn’t stop the exodus (nor did Trump’s scripted, two-day-late denunciation of white supremacists). Less than an hour after Trump’s latest outburst, Scott Paul (head of the Alliance for American Manufacturing) announced that he, too, was leaving the council “because it’s the right thing for me to do.”
These council members join a growing number of moguls, entrepreneurs, and innovators who have grown disillusioned with the real estate mogul turned commander-in-chief. Tesla and SpaceX’s Elon Musk has already turned his back on Trump, and Paypal founder Peter Thiel has predicted disaster for this presidency as well. Trump thinks he’ll be able to snatch up more CEOs for his council, but will any align themselves with his platform now?