President Donald Trump on Tuesday took the offensive against the CEOs who exited his manufacturing council in response to how he handled the Charlottesville, Virginia white nationalist protests, indicating on Twitter he would have no problem replacing them.
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For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2017
The president had four open spots to fill as of Tuesday morning, after some of America’s manufacturing executives perceived his initial response to the white nationalist protests in Virginia as unfitting.
On Tuesday, Scott Paul, president of the American Alliance for Manufacturing, announced his resignation from the manufacturing council on Twitter.
I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do.— Scott Paul (@ScottPaulAAM) August 15, 2017
Merck (MRK) CEO Kenneth Frazier was the first U.S. CEO to announce his resignation from the president’s manufacturing advisory council on Monday. In a statement disseminated through social media, Frazier said “as a matter of personal conscience” he felt “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Following Frazier’s exit, Intel (INTC) CEO Brian Krzanich tendered his resignation from the group, pointing to the unnecessary politicization of issues in the nation’s capital.
“I am not a politician. I am an engineer who has spent most of his career working in factories that manufacture the world’s most advanced devices. Yet, it is clear even to me that nearly every issue is now politicized to the point where significant progress is impossible. Promoting American manufacturing should not be a political issue,” Krzanich said.
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On Monday night, Under Armour (UAA) CEO Kevin Plank resigned from his position on the council, stating that while his company is committed to improving the American manufacturing sector, “Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics."
These aren’t the first CEOs to leave their posts on White House councils over political issues. In February, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick left an economic council over the president’s travel ban. Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, along with Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger, left the Strategic Policy Forum following the administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.