President Donald Trump announced the end of two of his White House councils on Wednesday, the manufacturing initiative and the Strategic and Policy Forum, following a host of resignations due to his handling of the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
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Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, organized a call for members of the Strategic and Policy Forum on Wednesday morning, according to The New York Times, where the group debated how it would proceed forward.
In a statement issued Wednesday, members said recent events were serving as a distraction from what the initiative was created to do.
"We believe the debate over Forum participation has become a distraction from our well-intentioned and sincere desire to aid vital policy discussions on how to improve the lives of everyday Americans," members said in a statement. "As such, the President and we are disbanding the Forum."
Meanwhile, executives belonging to Trump’s manufacturing council continued to drop out in droves Wednesday, after Campbell Soup Company (CPB) CEO Denise Morrison and 3M CEO Inge Thulin both announced they would no longer participate.
Thulin and Morrison joined a host of other business leaders who resigned from the council already this week. Those individuals include Merck (MRK) CEO Kenneth Frazier, Under Armour (UAA) CEO Kevin Plank, Intel (INTC) executive Brian Krzanich, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul and the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and Thea Lee.
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Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump went on the offensive against the executives who left the council, saying they were not taking their duties seriously as it “pertains to this country.”
“If you look at some of those people that you’re talking about … they’re having a lot of their product made outside [of the country],” Trump said during a press conference at Trump Tower. “Now I have to tell you, some of the folks that will leave, they’re leaving out of embarrassment because they make their products outside [the U.S.].”
Trump also called the same CEOs “grandstanders” in a tweet earlier Tuesday.