President Disbands Business Council as CEOs Jump Ship

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with manufacturing executives at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. From left are, Trump, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, Ford CEO Mark Fields, Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison, United Technologies Corporation CEO Greg Hayes, and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

With corporate chieftains fleeing, President Donald Trump abruptly abolished two of his White House business councils Wednesday – the latest fallout from his combative comments on racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump announced the action via tweet, although only after one of the panels had already agreed to disband earlier in the day. A growing number of business leaders on the councils had openly criticized his remarks laying blame for the violence at a white supremacist’s rally on “both sides.”

 

“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Trump tweeted from New York.

The decision came as the White House tried to manage the repercussions from Trump’s defiant remarks a day earlier. Presidential advisers hunkered down, offering no public defense while privately expressing frustration with his comments.

Some Republicans and scores of Democrats denounced Trump’s statements as putting white supremacists on equal moral footing with counter-protesters statements as putting white supremacists on equal moral footing with counter-protesters in  Charlottesville and called for an apology. Most of those Republicans, including congressional leaders, did not specifically criticize the president.