‘It’s the Right Thing to Do’: More CEOs Leave Trump’s Manufacturing Council in Charlottesville Protest

WASHINGTON — More CEOs have left President Trump’s manufacturing advisory council in protest of his reaction to the white supremacist rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., with Trump countering that he can easily get other business leaders to fill their place.

The first to resign was Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier, who announced Monday that he was leaving the White House’s American Manufacturing Council “to take a stand against intolerance.”

“Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs,” Frazier said in a statement. “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

“As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism,” he added.

Trump shot back on Twitter, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

Brian Kranzich, CEO of Intel, announced on the company’s blog that he resigned Monday “to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing.”

“I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them,” he said. “We should honor – not attack – those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does.”

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said his company “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”

“I am appreciative of the opportunity to have served, but have decided to step down from the council,” he said. “I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion.”

Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing announced Tuesday on Twitter, “I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do.” This morning, he tweeted an Elie Wiesel quote: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka had previously said he would stay on the council, but changed his mind after Trump’s Tuesday press conference. “We cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism. President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis,” Trumka said. “We joined this council with the intent to be a voice for working people and real hope that it would result in positive economic policy, but it has become yet another broken promise on the president’s record.”