Stranding CEOs Too Slow To Quit, Trump Disbands His Own Business Councils

Andrew Cummings
August 22, 2017

The CEOs on President Donald Trump's manufacturing council are from the largest of Fortune 500 companies, but the board's turnover rate more closely resembles that of a fast food restaurant.

Following the high profile dissolution of both the American manufacturing council and the strategic and policy forum, President Donald Trump is abandoning plans to form an infrastructure advisory council tasked with tackling the country's crumbling roads and bridges.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, "For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place".

The evening after Trump's comments, members of the strategy and policy forum - led by Blackstone Group's Stephen Schwarzman - began to waver.

Alliance president Scott Paul, in a tweet, said simply, "I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do".


Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Before the president's decision to dissolve the two councils, executives from his manufacturing council were expected to have a similar call Wednesday afternoon.

"Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville". Plank did not specifically mention Trump or Charlottesville, but said his company will focus on promoting "unity, diversity and inclusion" through sports.

The resignations were announced after Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

While executives are sure to continue to push for tax reform and other measures they view as helpful to their companies and the economy, few, if any, will dare risk tying themselves to Trump again.


The group planned to tell the White House about their decision before making it public, according to a third person.

"Usually, certain niceties are observed to smooth over a rupture", said Galston, who served as a domestic policy aide in the Clinton administration.

The loss of support from corporate America is big setback for a pro-business president who was a businessman himself and who based his campaign on helping Main Street and Wall Street. Trump showed a fondness for loudly calling out companies on Twitter, but most absorbed the punches and promised to hire more people in the US while touting plans to build more factories and other facilities.

Trump opened his presidency highlighting his relationships with titans of industry, regularly bringing in camera crews and reporters to show the nation a president leading discussions that included some of the best-known names in business. But by Monday, Trump condemned white supremacists, calming the waters for a time. Just 36 percent of Americans said they approve of the job he's doing, while 58 percent disapprove, in the poll taken August 13-15.

Conversely, Trump, who has pushed policies on immigration and trade that are unpopular in the business community, could also see more executives willing to speak out against him when they disagree with his agenda, said Gutierrez. During his remarks, the president doubled down on claims that "both sides" were to blame for the violence, while insisting that "very fine people" were among the attendees of a white supremacist rally.


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