Trump's Aust-led council a "joke"


This president, either through bad advice, a lack of empathy, or reluctance to spurn a group of people his critics describe as his base, appeared to defend the tactics of a group of white supremacists upset over the fact that the city of Charlottesville was taking down a statue of a man who committed treason nearly 160 years ago. Some of Trump's political opponents called it a "dog whistle" to his far-right voter bloc supporters.

The CEO of the nation's third largest pharmaceutical company is resigning from the President's American Manufacturing Council citing "a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism".

In a statement on his resignation, Frazier said, "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal".

"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", Mr Gorsky wrote.

"Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics" Plank said in a statement.

The president followed up later in the day, tweeting that Merck “is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”. I resigned because I wanted to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them.

More news: Another CEO quits Trump's manufacturing council

By Monday afternoon the AFL-CIO said it was "assessing" its role in the manufacturing group - which it said "has yet to hold any real meeting".

Mr Trumka and the chief executives of Under Armour, Merck, Intel, Johnson & Johnson and 3M quit following Mr Trump's Charlottesville remarks where he blamed "many sides" for the violence.

Several executives from top USA companies have stepped down from a number of presidential advisory councils in protest over Mr Trump's policies.

The resignation prompted an angry response from Trump on Twitter. Also pictured is Kenneth Frazier (R) CEO of Merck & Company.

But at least seven companies or executives said that they would remain with the council, which was formed in January to advise Trump on manufacturing growth - a key focus of the president's campaign. At the time, the White House hailed the council, including Frazier, as "some of the world's most successful and creative business leaders". In June, following the president's announcement that he planned to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, both Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Disney CEO Robert Iger resigned from White House advisory councils. Trump initially criticized the violence on many sides, rather than singling out the white supremacists.

While Musk publicly and repeatedly rebuked several Trump policies, including the travel ban, he said he believed having a seat at the table was "doing good".