Trump Business Councils Are Disbanding After More CEOs Depart [Updated]

Adam Rowe

Tech and media giants including Google and Paypal have reaffirmed their stance against hate groups in the wake of a violent white nationalist protest in Charlottesville last Saturday in which a white nationalist drove a car into a crowd of protesters, killing one individual and wounding 19 others. Following a series of tepid responses from President Donald Trump, numerous top CEOs have left the various Trump-led panels they had previously been a part of.

Now, following these high-profile departures, Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum and the American Manufacturing Council — both business advisory councils — are disbanding entirely.

The Timeline

After Trump's initial response failed to call out the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis involved in the event, Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma resigned from the American Manufacturing Council. Trump then released a more specific statement on Monday condemning racism in all forms, before following this up with a Tuesday press conference in which he reiterated his initial insinuation that violence on both sides equated white nationalists with their protesters.

During these few days, more members of the American Manufacturing Council left —representatives from Intel and Under Armour — as well as members of other Trump-led panels. A fourth member of the same Manufacturing Council, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, stepped down on Tuesday.

Disbanding Trump's Panels

Today, two panels have been disbanded — both after losing members due to their disapproval with the current administration's response to the Charlottesville attack.

“Members of President Donald Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum have agreed to disband the group,” sources told CNBC, “as corporate backlash mounts against the president.


‘The thinking was it was important to do as a group,' a member told CNBC. ‘As a panel, not as individuals because it would have more significant impact. It makes a central point that it's not going to go forward. It's done.'”

Following this news, Trump took to Twitter to announce his own dismantling of the American Manufacturing Council while also referencing the Strategic and Policy Forum's decision to disband:

TechCo will update this post should additional panels disband before the day is up.

Update: Trump has now ended plans for his Council on Infrastructure. Meanwhile, members of the White House presidential arts commission are resigning, also in protest of Trump’s comments.

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.

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