President Donald Trump on Tuesday ripped three top corporate chief executives who resigned from his manufacturing council in protest of his handling of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, calling them “grandstanders.”
Trump’s missive came shortly before another member of the council, Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing trade group, announced that he was stepping down as well.
Trump said on Twitter:
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
Kenneth Frazier, chief executive of Merck & Co, publicly announced on Monday that he was stepping down from the council because he felt “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
One of the nation’s most prominent African-American executives, Frazier did not mention Trump by name.
Trump had been criticised for not explicitly condemning white supremacists after violent clashes with counter-protesters turned deadly in the Virginia college town on Saturday.
Trump lashed out at Frazier on Twitter, criticising Merck for what he said were its high drug prices.
Although Trump read a statement later on Monday specifically denouncing “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups,” that didn’t stop the fallout.
Kevin Plank, chief executive of Under Armour Inc, and Brian Krzanich, chief executive of Intel Corp, issued statements Monday night that they were stepping down as well.
Then on Tuesday, Paul said he was joining them.
“I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do,” he tweeted.
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who was a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, said on Tuesday that all the CEOs on the advisory council should resign.
“No advisor committed to the bipartisan American traditions of government can possibly believe he or she is being effective at this point,” Summers wrote in a column in The Washington Post. “And all should feel ashamed for complicity in Mr Trump’s words and deeds. I sometimes wonder how they face their children.”
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