CEOs and top Republicans distance themselves from Trump’s pro-Nazi remarks—but not from Trump
17 August 2017
After a string of CEOs quit President Trump’s manufacturing council over his remarks on the deadly rampage of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, which left one dead and 19 wounded, the president declared he is disbanding two economic advisory panels that included the heads of some of America’s largest companies.
The corporate executives began distancing themselves from the White House Monday after Trump’s initial remarks in which he failed to condemn the fascist rioters. The first to leave was Kenneth C. Frazier, the chief executive of drugmaker Merck, who resigned from the manufacturing council early Monday. Frazier, the lone African-American on the advisory panel, tweeted, “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Later that night two more CEOs, Kevin Plank of Under Armour and Brian Krzanich of Intel, left the same group. The exodus continued on Tuesday, with three leaders of labor and non-profit business groups leaving the council.
On Wednesday, hedge fund boss Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, organized a conference call for members of the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum following the president’s remarks at a press conference at Trump Tower in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
Press reports about the call say that after a discussion among the dozen prominent CEOs, the decision was made to put an end to the group altogether. The forum included Laurence D. Fink of BlackRock, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Rich Lesser of the Boston…