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CEOs of Merk, Under Armour, AAM and Intel Walk Away from President’s Manufacturing Council

President Trump speaking at manufacturing CEOs at the White House in January.

President Trump speaking at manufacturing CEOs at the White House in January.

CEOs of major U.S. corporations continue to jump ship from President Trump’s Manufacturing Council in response to the president’s rather belated and lackluster prepared response to the turmoil in Charlottesville that led to the death of Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer, age 32, and the injury of 20 others by James Alex Fields Jr.

Following the exit of high-profile African-American business leader Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of pharmaceutical giant, Merk, CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank followed suit and quit his seat on the council. Saying Under Armour “engages in sports, not politics,” saying, “I am appreciative for the opportunity to have served, but have decided to step down from the council.”

A short time later, following Plank’s announcement, a third CEO, this one from computer technology company, Intel, walked away from Trump’s council. Brian Krzanich announced that he “resigned 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.”

Krzanich went on to say, “Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base … I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them.”

Trump, in contrast to his delayed condemnation of the violence in Charlottesville, instigated by white nationalists and Neo-Nazis, had remarked within the hour on Twitter following Frazier’s announcement that he was leaving the council, tweeting, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”


Frazier had earlier stated, that he had quit the council because of a “responsibility to take a stand against violence and extremism.” Frazier continued in a statement, saying, “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.”

Following his Monday statement on the  situation in Charlottesville, Trump, showing a lack of sincerity, re-tweeted Jack Posobiec’s tweet that said, “Meanwhile: 39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?”

Posobiec, spread and promoted the “pizzagate” allegations against Hillary Clinton during the campaign, claiming that a number of restaurants were part of a child-sex ring and that the Podesta emails, that were leaked by Wikileaks, used codewords for pedophilia and sex-trafficking. The  spread of the false news by Posobiec and others such as Info Wars, led to a gunman, Edgar Maddison Welch going into the Comet Ping-Pong pizza restaurant and firing off rounds from an assault rifle. Maddison said he was investigating that conspiracy theory.

This newest exit of CEOs from Trump’s council follows Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, who left in February because of intense criticism coming from Uber customers and staff over Trump’s immigration executive order.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, left the council in June following Trump’s decision to leave the Paris accord on climate change.

The increasing departure of CEOs in American industry, puts pressure on the remaining members as they access their stances on the Trump presidency and the administration’s policies.

Trump was quick to respond to the news of CEOs leaving his council, saying on Twitter, “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” In an earlier tweet, Trump once again lashed out at the media in reference to his statement on Monday, tweeting, “Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the News Media will never be satisfied…truly bad people!”

Shortly after Trump’s tweet, Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, became the fourth person to turn away from the White House in the last 24 hours.

The advisory council has yet to have a real meeting since the inception of the council in January.