President Donald Trump has disbanded his American Manufacturing Council after several CEOs departed in protest of his response to a the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. CEOs from 3M, Campbell Soup Company and Johnson & Johnson announced that they would be leaving the council shortly before Trump tweeted he would be shutting it down.
CEOs from Merck, Intel and Under Armour as well as Scott Paul, president of the nonprofit Alliance for American Manufacturing, and the president and deputy chief of staff of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka and Thea Lee, all left the council earlier this week.
Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company, issued a statement saying, “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville. I believe the president should have been—and still needs to be—unambiguous on that point.”
“Following yesterday’s remarks from the president, I cannot remain on the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative,” Morrison continued. “I will continue to support all efforts to spur economic growth and advocate for the values that have always made America great.”
“Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to remain engaged as important policy decisions are made,” chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson Alex Gorsky said in a statement today. “That hasn’t changed. The president’s most recent statements equating those who are motivated by race-based hate with those who stand up against hatred is unacceptable and has changed our decision to participate in the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council.”
Gorsky continued, “We will continue to support, advocate and champion policies and programs that make this country and the world healthier, stronger and more united.”
This morning, 3M CEO and chairman Inge Thulin, announced he would leave the manufacturing council, saying in a statement that “diversity and inclusion are my personal values and also fundamental to the 3M vision.” He said he had joined the president’s initiative in hopes of making America stronger and more prosperous, but now believes “the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals.”
Trump has also disbanded his Strategic and Policy Forum. According to the New York Times, prominent CEOs from the council—which included members from businesses like BlackRock, IBM, Boston Consulting Group and the Cleveland Clinic—were likely planning to announce their departures.