"Rather than putting pressure on the business people of the Manufacturing Council" and "Strategy & Policy, I am ending both," Trump announced on Twitter early Wednesday afternoon.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
A third of the private sector players participating in the White House's consultative boards called it quits following Trump's mishandling of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Tuesday, Trump held a characteristically unhinged press conference in which he said "both sides" were culpable for violence at the University of Virginia campus, even though a white supremacist was responsible for driving his car into a crowd of people and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
"They tried to kill my child to shut her up," Heyer's mother said following the tragedy. "Well guess what: you just magnified her."
When pressed on the violence and whether he condemns neo-Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan, one of the most sinister hate groups in the US, Trump deflected blame and began describing "troublemakers" from the so-called "alt-left."
Since the weekend, it's virtually been a race to see who can unaffiliate themselves with the White House the quickest.
The top dog at Merck, a giant pharmaceutical firm led by black business leader Kenneth Frazier was the first to back out from the White House Manufacturing Council. Trump then scorned Frazier over Twitter, saying he should focus on decreasing "ripoff" drug prices.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
But Frazier was not alone. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank resigned from the Council on Tuesday while computer-processor chip maker Intel's top executive, Brian Krzanich, announced he would no longer be participating as well.
From there, the floodgates broke open — even as Trump attempted to mask the exodus by tweeting that people were chomping at the bit for a seat on the Council.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2017
Executives from Campbell Soup and manufacturing conglomerate 3M also called it quits. "Of the 12 CEOs on the Trump panel call today, 9 said they would step down if it was not disbanded," New York Times finance report Landon Thomas tweeted.
— Landon Thomas Jr. (@Landonthomasjr) August 16, 2017
Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul announced on Tuesday he was stepping down from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it was "the right thing to do."
— Scott Paul (@ScottPaulAAM) August 15, 2017